he FTSE 100 was set to end the week on a downer today with early falls set to cancel out half of yesterday’s gains amid continuing jitters about the spread of the Covid pandemic around the world.
Germany looked set to join the UK and Ireland as the sick men of Europe with daily deaths hitting new records, France imposed curfews and yesterday’s weak jobs data from the US showed the world’s biggest economy struggling under the weight of the virus.
The FTSE was expected to open down 25 points at 6771, according to trading patterns on the IG Index platform. CMC Markets called it down 31 points, with Germany’s Dax falling 96 to 13892 an France’s CAC 40 down 39 at 5642.
Asian markets had a mixed session, with the Nikkei in Japan reversing earlier gains as the session went on, although tech stocks performed well – no help to London’s oil, mining and banking-heavy FTSE 100.
On the positive side, while IT companies are few and far between on Britain’s leading index, IT giant Infosys’s CEO said he was positive about Britain’s post-Brexit prospects. Salil Parekh said he would continue investing here now a trade deal had been signed, saying: “The uncertainty is behind us,” according to the Financial Times.
The Indian computing giant’s UK clients include Vodafone, BT and Eon.
Japan’s market’s petering out echoed that of the US, where shares ended on a muted note last night after stronger early gains sparked by Joe Biden announced details of a $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus plan. The move will see most Americans get a direct $1400 payment on top of last month’s deal including $600 payments.
“It has been a case of buy the rumour and sell the fact,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden, citing the old City adage used when prices rise in anticipation of good news then fall back when the event happens.
Markets may also take some heart from reports that the Government is planning to rip up decades of workers’ rights now Britain has left the EU.
According to the FT, the 48-hour working week will be ended, along with rules around rest breaks at work and overtime pay will be for the chop.
While such measures could make the UK more competitive, they could also lead to conflict with unions and workforces generally, although the government said the overall impact would not be to “lower” workers’ rights.
Unions point out that British workers have historically been the biggest beneficiaries of positive judgements in the European courts.
Such moves would also potentially risk retaliation from the EU on other ongoing “rebalancing measures” still to be discussed around Britain’s relationship with the bloc.
Shares in Entain will be in the spotlight after the Ladbrokes and Coral gambling group was said to be lining up the sector’s first female chief executive in Jette Nygaard-Andersen. She is currently a non-executive director at the group.
The company formerly known as GVC is currently fighting off a takeover bid from MGM Resorts but chief executive Shay Segev handed in his resignation this week, leaving a hole at the top of the business.
The heat on Compass, the catering giant, continued to rise as its Chartwell subsidiary got slammed by ministers in parliament yesterday, leading to another trashing of its reputation in the newspapers today.
Compass provided meagre school meal rations to poor children that have been attacked by footballer Marcus Rashford, although Labour yesterday pointed out that the meals provided bore a striking resemblance to the requirements stipulated by government.
Despite that, for some investors, the situation bears an uncanny resemblence to Compass’s previous Turkey Twizzlers scandal and are taking a dim view of the shares.
— to www.standard.co.uk