Market report

House prices ‘to fall 8%’ | Goldman Sachs cuts | stocks dip


4.30pm: London sharply lower

At the close of the London equities market the FTSE 100 was down 94.05 points at 7,332.12, taking its cue from the US where stocks continued to slide as investors were resigned to rising interest rates for longer than they had hoped.

Just after Wall Street opened, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had shed 1.12%, the S&P 500 was down 1.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite had slipped 0.6%.

House prices to fall

Halifax has predicted an 8% fall in house prices in 2023. taking the average property price back at roughly the level it was in April 2021.

Homes director Andrew Asaam said: “The year kicked off with average house prices continuing to rise at pace, still supported by low interest rates and strong demand from buyers.

“Following such rapid house price growth, and the growing economic headwinds, a slowdown was almost inevitable. We saw this play out with a flattening of house prices over the summer, before the -2.3% decrease recorded in November.”

Goldman Sachs cuts

US investment bank Goldman Sachs is rumoured to be planning as many as 4,000 job cuts as it struggles to reach profitability targets. 

The cuts may amount to about 8% of its workforce, according to news outlet Semafor.

First Group buyback

FirstGroup is launching a £75m share buy-back programme after completing the £122m sale of all but two of its remaining Greyhound US properties to an affiliate of Twenty Lake Holdings.

The transport operator said it had made the decision in light of the group’s cash generative operations and strong net cash financial position.

Taylor Wimpey board change

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said chair Irene Dorner will be stepping down for personal family reasons at the conclusion of the 2023 annual general meeting in April.

Ms Dorner will be succeeded by senior independent director Robert Noel – will stay on the board as a non-executive director following the conclusion of the AGM.

BT shake-up

BT Group on Friday said it was combining its global and enterprise units to create a new corporate operation, in a move designed to save £100m a year by the end of 2025.

Full story here

Retail sales fall

UK retail sales fell unexpectedly in November, despite the Black Friday sales promotions which, according to previous data, gave Scottish sales a slight uplift.

The 0.4% fall across British high streets, malls and retail parks is taken as an indicator of cost-of-living crisis eating into consumer finances.

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a 0.3% rise from October.

The Office for National Statistics said the data did not include “Cyber Monday” online sales which fell on 28 November and will be included in December’s figures.

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