Market report

BP value back above £100bn after Footsie record


BP’s market capitalisation rose above £100 billion for the first time in three years as shareholders rewarded the company for records profits.

The UK oil giant has jumped almost 19% since its annual results statement earlier this week and a strategic shift to pump more oil and gas than previously planned, despite the impact on its climate goals

Standard Chartered remained about 5% lower after First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) said it was not currently evaluating an offer for the British bank. 

Its shares had surged over 11% in the previous session after a Bloomberg report said FAB was considering reviving the bid.

The bank reiterated “that it is not evaluating a possible offer” for the Asian-focused bank. The report had claimed FAB, which is worth about twice as much as Standard Chartered, was exploring an all-cash bid of in the range of $30bn to $35bn.

Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, commented: “The UK has avoided a recession by the narrowest of margins. The final three months of 2022 brought no growth but no contraction, meaning the UK has dodged the technical definition of a recession by a hair’s breadth.”

“But while we can’t slap the badge of ‘recession’ on the economy, it’s clear the UK is struggling and everyone is feeling the effect of the malaise in the country’s economy.

“This economic no-man’s land of no contraction or no growth won’t have people celebrating in the street, particularly considering GDP is 0.8% below its pre-pandemic level.”

FTSE 100 slips after record week

After hitting a record high this week the FTSE 100 closed 28.7 points lower at 7,882.45 as data showed the UK economy narrowly avoided recession.

On Thursday, the blue chip index struck its highest level since it launched in 1984, climbing to 7,911.15 and tipped to surge above 8,000 before the end of the month, barring any unforeseen setbacks.

Part of the reason for the surge has been a return to old stock after years of backing new technology. Banks, oil, house builders and miners have been among the gainers, benefiting from higher interest rates and the energy crisis. Conversely, many stocks will also benefit from interest rates starting to fall.

The decline in sterling’s value has provided another stimulant for the FTSE 100, whose constituents make about three quarters of their earnings overseas.

7am: FirstGroup franchise

FirstGroup said it had been granted a two-year extension for its South Western Railway franchise.

The contract, which began in May 2021, will now run until 25 May 2025 on existing terms, the company said.

7am: Scotgold confirms capital raise

Gold miner Scotgold Resources has raised £2.5 million in a share issue to support its Cononish mine near Loch Lomond and its plans to drill in the Grampian area of Scotland.

Full story here

7am: ASOS interim CFO

Online fashion retailer ASOS has named Sean Glithero as interim chief finance officer.

Mr Glithero, who has already joined the business, will take over from Katy Mecklenburgh who leaves in May, until a permanent CFO is appointed.

7am: Economy

The UK avoided a technical recession in the fourth quarter but a 0.5% fall in December meant there was no growth between October and December, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Full story here

Global markets

Wall Street succumbed to selling pressure, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending down 0.7%, the S&P 500 down 0.9%, and the Nasdaq Composite 1.0% lower.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.3%. In China, inflation ticked up annually, but prices fell on a monthly basis.

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