Weekly Client Update – Friday 7th May

Mixed International Markets

All of the major US stocks were up yesterday, with the SPX500 (Standard and Poor’s 500), DJ30 (Dow Jones 30) and NASDAQ100 (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations) all adding just under 1%. In the DJ30, most names were looking good, with Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase pushing the index higher with 2% plus daily gains. The financial sector also led the SPX500 higher, adding 1.4% collectively. Information management firm Iron Mountain and food company giant, Kellogg, were leading the pack, with gains of 7.5% and 7.1% respectively. Falling behind, nine SPX500 stocks closed down more than 6%.


FTSE100 (Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index) has grown by double-digits in value so far, after a 0.5% gain yesterday. The index was pushed higher by precious metals miner Fresnillo, which added 6.4%. Tobacco giants British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands Group both gained more than 3% yesterday. Bringing up the rear, at  -4.7% and -3.2% respectively  were insurance firm Admiral Group and online grocer Ocado Group. Ocado Group’s share price has fallen 30% over the past three months and is down 13% in 2021 so far overall.

After two consecutive sessions in the red, the black gold seemed to be in the green and recovering this morning. Etsy has had a much less successful year since their number of online consumers skyrocketing last year. Their share price fell by 14.6% yesterday after it delivered its first quarter earnings numbers. Its stock is down more than 30% from its all-time high.

On the European front, the GER30 (German stock index DAX 30) was up 68 points, CCAC40 (Cotation Assistee en Continu 40) opened at 20 points higher and FTSE100 opened at 29 points higher.


Positivity from The Bank of England

The Bank of England announced yesterday revised forecasts for the UK economy, predicting that it will perform much better than originally expected as the country comes out of the pandemic. They now predict GDP growth of just over 7.5%.

The Bank also predicts that towards the 4th quarter of this year, the economy will recover to the same levels that it was at before the pandemic started, exceeding its level documented at the end of 2019. This is largely due to new Covid-19 cases continuing to fall, the vaccination programme running smoothly and the restrictions on economic activity decreasing.

In spite of the global pandemic, Britain’s service sector has experienced its fastest monthly growth in more than 7 years. There have been steep increases in consumer and business spending as well as in jobs growth.

The IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index – a guide to the overall state of a sector responsible for almost 80% of the UK’s national output – stood at 61.0 in April, up from 56.3 in March and above the flash estimate of 60.1 reported late last month. Any reading above 50 denotes that the sector is expanding.

In support of this, the data reflected by the Office for National Statistics, has shown a rise in restaurant bookings, with seated diner reservations this past Saturday, at 71% of their level on the comparable weekend 2 years ago – 9% higher than the previous week.

The number of shoppers on the high streets and in retail parks at the end of the first week in May, was 74% of the level during the same week of 2019. While the data shows that the hospitality and leisure industry still have an estimated 3.3 million workers on furlough, due to the restrictions caused by Covid-19.


UK Rescuing India today

The UK and USA have joined others in stepping in to support India, as the Covid-19 crisis peaked towards the end of April. Planeloads of ventilators and other medical emergency equipment have been sent to the devastated country. Some 300 tons of supplies have been sent, much of which has reportedly been delayed in getting them to those in need. The Indian government has strongly denied this saying that they are working hard on distributing all the goods.


UK Collaborating with India tomorrow

The UK and India are working together in another area, this time regarding an agreement to allow young adults to live and work in each other’s countries for two years. The Young Professionals Scheme allows “the brightest and best” 18 to 30 year old professionals to come to the UK based on their skills and talent. This exercise also aims to control illegal migration and comes as the UK pushes for a post-Brexit free-trade deal with India.


Ikea joins the sustainability drive

Speaking of schemes, Ikea has started a buy-back scheme offering vouchers for old furniture. They have already introduced ‘Circular Hubs’ into Ikea stores,  in an attempt to reduce the number of products going to landfill. This is all part of their sustainability drive to become climate positive by 2030. As well as the UK, the scheme has been launched in 26 countries.


Website’s ‘nap reviewer’ dream job pays $1,500 for 30 naps

Ever wished you could get paid to sleep? Well, a US company is seeking “nap reviewers” to get paid $1,500 each, to take daily naps for 30 days and document the experience. EachNight.com, which offers comparisons of mattresses, bedding and other items, said it is researching the “pros and cons of napping” and is seeking a team of “nap reviewers” to document their mid-day rests.

Over the course of 30 days, their dedicated nappers will be required to take part in a variety of experiments testing out theories such as the best nap duration for feeling refreshed, the effects of napping on overall levels of fatigue, and the effects of napping on memory, motivation and productivity. The nap reviewers will be required to participate in video calls before and after each nap to document the experience.

So, if you have a teenager in the house, this may be their dream job and no longer will you have to shout: “get out of bed and find a job!”.