Week ahead

Oil up on US deal | Carstairs reopens | gigafactory hopes

Buzzard oil well
Brent crude rose on prospects of a US debt deal

Oil prices rose today after tentative agreement was reached in the US on a deal that would prevent the Treasury running out of money.

US President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to suspend the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling and cap government spending for the next two years.

Both leaders expressed confidence that members of the Democratic and Republican parties will vote to support the deal.

Brent crude futures climbed 45 cents, or 0.6%, to $77.40 a barrel in early trade while US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $73.2 a barrel, up 53 cents, or 0.7%.

Stock market trade was subdued today because of UK and US public holidays, but the prospective deal has raised hopes of a relief rally when they re-open on Tuesday.

In a shortened reporting week, Auto Trader posts full-year results on Thursday. Its shares are up by around 15% over the past year, helped along by a huge rally from the autumn lows, itself the result of improved consumer confidence, hopes for lower inflation and interest rates and government assistance with energy bills.

The second-hand car market has also remained tight thanks to weak production numbers for new cars, which have been hampered by silicon chip shortages.

The interim dividend was increased marginally to 2.8p from 2.7p and analysts have pencilled in 8.56p a share versus last year’s 8.2p for fiscal 2023 overall.

Carstairs junction
Carstairs has undergone a major investment

Rail services between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley via Carstairs will resume on Tuesday, following three months of major upgrade works. 

Engineers from Scotland’s Railway have been working around the clock for the past 12 weeks to modernise the layout of the Carstairs Junction, a key section of the West Coast Mainline linking Glasgow and Edinburgh to London, and upgrade the platforms at Carstairs station. 

This phase of the £164 million overhaul has seen Network Rail, the infrastructure operator, simplify and upgrade the track-layout to clear an existing bottleneck on the network, making it more reliable and able to better cope with both passenger and freight demands.  

Additional engineering works by Network Rail are scheduled to take place on Saturday and Sunday, (3-4 June), with normal timetable resuming again on Monday, 5 June. More information on these works is available on the ScotRail website

An announcement is due on a battery gigafactory in the west country which will help secure the UK car industry.

Jaguar Land Rover is expected to choose the UK over Spain with its owner Tata Group agreeing to sign the deal.

Tata’s chairman is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the middle of the week. It comes as the British motor industry scrambles to boost capacity for electric cars, which are set to become very popular in the coming years.


Tuesday 30 May

  • First-half results from Hollywood Bowl and Greencore
  • Nationwide UK house price survey
  • In the US, quarterly results from HP Inc and HP Enterprises

Wednesday 31 May

  • Full-year results from Bloomsbury Publishing, De La Rue
  • Trading statement from Bodycote
  • Chinese purchasing managers’ indices (PMIs) for manufacturing and services

Thursday 1 June

  • Full-year results from Pennon, Autotrader and Dr Martens
  • Manufacturing purchasing managers’ indices (PMIs) from Japan, Asia, the UK, EU and US
  • UK mortgage approvals
  • EU inflation
  • US car sales
  • US oil inventories
  • In Europe, quarterly results from Remy Cointreau
  • RIAS awards

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