- FTSE 100 closing price of 7,245.9, -0.4%
- Next slips following earnings
- BP and Royal Dutch Shell slide as oil declines
- USD steady ahead of Fed decision
- GBP strong following PMI, ahead of BoE
- Ethereum reaches record high
By Samuel Indyk
Investing.com – The FTSE 100 slipped on Wednesday ahead of the Federal Reserve decision where the central bank is expected to announce it will begin tapering asset purchases from as soon as this month. Markets will be keeping an eye out for how the Fed characterises the current and future inflation picture and when the timing of the first interest rate hike might be.
In individual stocks news, Next (LON:NXT) was in focus after their latest trading update. The UK retail bellwether said trading was ahead of expectations but maintained guidance for Q4 sales of 10% on expectations that consumers’ disposable incomes will get squeezed in the fourth quarter which could impact revenue growth.
“Next have delivered a stellar sales and profit performance in recent quarters, but the going is getting tougher,” writes Hargreaves Lansdowne fund manager Steve Clayton. “So far the company are saying that higher costs are absorbing the benefit of stronger than expected demand. But with demand set to come under increasing pressure as consumers struggle with higher bills, the outlook is becoming less certain.”
Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa) and BP (LON:BP) were also underperformers as the price of oil slid again following another build in US inventories. WTI and Brent crude futures were both trading lower by over 3% following the latest data from the Energy Information Administration which showed stockpiles rose by 3.291 million in the latest week, versus expectations for a build of 2.225 million barrels. However, there was another decline in inventories at the Cushing hub where inventories fell to a 3-year low.
The USD was steady ahead of the Fed’s interest rate decision with FX markets generally treading water. GBP was a notable outperformer with EUR/GBP dropping back below 0.8500 and GBP/USD back above 1.3660 following PMI data. IHS Markit’s Composite PMI rose to 57.8 in October, its highest level since July as the Services PMI rose to a three-month high.
“Looser international travel restrictions and greater domestic mobility helped to lift the UK service sector recovery out of its recent malaise in October,” said IHS Markit Economics Director Tim Moore.
However, it wasn’t all positive with business optimism easing to its lowest level since January amid record rates of input price and output charge inflation.
The report comes ahead of tomorrow’s Bank of England interest rate decision where economists and traders appear split on whether the central bank will raise interest rates or not.
In the world of cryptocurrencies, Ethereum reached a record high above $4,600 before easing back slightly. A bullish note from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and the introduction of micro Ethereum futures on the CME was said to be the catalyst for the recent moves higher. Bitcoin was relatively stable in a tight range with focus on the Fed.
MARKET WRAP: FTSE slips ahead of Fed, USD steady, Oil tumbles
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