|Day's Range||7,197.33 - 7,262.49|
|52 Week Range||6,536.50 - 7,727.50|
The FTSE 250 dipped 0.5%, hit by a 14.2% fall in Royal Mail after it said its turnaround plan has fallen behind schedule. Companies which might risk being renationalised under Labour - including National Grid, United Utilities, Severn Trent, SSE and Royal Bank of Scotland - lost 1-2.2%. U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese imports if no deal is struck and U.S. Senate bills backing protesters in Hong Kong were condemned by Beijing.
Investing.com -- China reacted angrily to the Senate's passing of a bill tying trade preferences to observation of Hong Kong's rights, pushing Asian and European stock markets lower overnight. There are earnings updates due early from Lowe's and Target (NYSE:TGT), while Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has priced the world's biggest stock offering so far this year. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Wednesday, 20th November.
The FTSE 250 , which had jumped over 1% earlier, ended with a 0.4% gain, still hovering at a 14-month high. Markets are viewing a prospective Tory victory as a positive on hopes that Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with a majority in parliament, will be able to reduce uncertainty by delivering Brexit on or before the Jan. 31 deadline. The blue-chip index added 0.2% thanks in part to Halma , which climbed 8.5% after an upbeat half-year report.
The domestically-focused FTSE 250 index rose 0.2% while the FTSE 100 added 0.1%. A win by the opposition Labour Party "could cause turmoil on the markets given the party wants to renationalise several sectors and shake up taxes," Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said. Chinese news agency Xinhua said China and the United States had had "constructive talks", while CNBC reported that U.S. President Donald Trump was reluctant to roll back tariffs.
While economic data will influence, Beijing and Washington will likely have the greatest impact on risk appetite in the week ahead.
Global markets edge higher on trade hopes but still no deal in sight, traders are warned to expect too much from the deal when and if it comes.
The main index fell 0.8% with 3i Group hitting a five-month low after striking a cautious tone about new investment opportunities and as heavyweight components Sainsbury , Shell and GSK traded without dividend entitlement. The mid-cap FTSE 250 was 0.3% lower, with transport operator FirstGroup dropping nearly 20% on its worst day since May 2018 after a bigger first-half loss due to a charge related to its Greyhound bus line business in the U.S.. Dollar earners were among the top drags on the main bourse as sterling strengthened on hopes that Conservatives will win a majority in the December election and finally break the deadlock surrounding Britain's departure from the European Union.
New RBS boss Alison Rose, one of only six CEOs in FTSE 100 firms. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PAOne in every two FTSE 100 executive appointments over the next year will have to go to a woman if the UK is to meet targets to tackle the gender imbalance across British business by 2020, a report has warned.A “step change” at the UK’s biggest listed companies is needed if they are to hit a key metric where women make up at least a third of executive-level leadership teams by the end of next year.The latest conclusion from the government-commissioned Hampton-Alexander review means more women across blue chip-listed firms will need to be propelled into key positions , including chief executive, chief financial officer or chief operating officer – as well as senior management that report directly to executives committees – in the coming months.The review, first commissioned in 2016, has two targets: one for executive committees and one for board positions that includes a company’s chair, non-executives and the chief executive and finance chief. The latter target is likely to be met ahead of the deadline. Women accounted for 32.4% of those roles across the FTSE 100 by October, up from 30.2% a year earlier and 12.5% in 2011.“This is the penultimate Hampton-Alexander report and we enter our final year with great momentum behind us. If this progress continues into 2020, our targets for women on boards will be met,” the review’s chairman, Sir Philip Hampton, said.“Whilst this is a key indicator of change at the top, strengthening the number of women in executive positions is critical to achieving long-term gender balance. We are still a long way from reaching the target for women in senior leadership roles below board level. Unless half of all appointments made this year go to women – our target for 2020 is not going to be met.”The report showed that 28.6% of women were in executive leadership roles across the FTSE 100 by the time the data was collected this summer. That number was even lower across the FTSE 250 at 27.9%.It applauded 10 companies for their performance, including Burberry, ITV, Whitbread and pharmaceuticals firm GSK, which has been led by chief executive Emma Walmsley since 2017. British American Tobacco, as well as miners Glencore, Antofagasta and Fresnillo were among the worst performers for having women in executive leadership positions.There are just six female chief executives in the FTSE 100, including Alison Rose, who became the first woman to lead one of Britain’s biggest banks after taking on the top job at Royal Bank of Scotland on 1 November.“Not all companies are making the same efforts, and the gap between those working hard to improve gender balance and those doing little, is each year more obvious,” the report said.There are still 44 all-male executive committees across the FTSE 350, down from 50 a year earlier. However, there are now just two all-male-boards: property firm Daejan Holdings and software company Kainos Group. That is down from 152 all-male boards in 2011.Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDeskThe Hampton-Alexander review claimed a victory after the number of so-called “one and done” boardrooms with just single female board member nearly halved from 74 to 39. It follows a successful campaign by the review and City investment firms, who criticised firms for taking a “tokenistic approach” to gender balance.Investment groups highlight statistics showing that diverse companies tend to be more successful. Research by global consultancy group McKinsey has shown that companies with the greatest gender diversity in the boardroom are 21% more likely to be more profitable than their peers and 27% more likely to create superior value.Chris Cummings, the chief executive of the Investment Association, said: “Great progress is being made with women on boards, but it’s time for us to aim higher. This pace of change now needs to extend beyond the board to senior executive leadership roles if businesses are to demonstrate their diversity at all levels. Investors have been consistent in their demands for greater diversity.“It’s not just a nice to have. The research is clear: firms with diverse boards and management teams make better decisions, drive innovation and outperform their less diverse peers.”
The FTSE 100 added 0.5%, while the mid-cap index , which rallied on Monday after Brexit Party chief Nigel Farage said he would not fight Conservative-held seats in next month's British election, rose 0.1%. Markets rallied last week on signs of a thaw in relations between Washington and Beijing, but those gains were reeled back on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump cast doubt on the progress of negotiations. Despite nervousness surrounding the outlook for global growth, sentiment around the U.S.-China trade rhetoric softened with two of Wall Street's benchmark indexes scaling record highs before Trump's speech at the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday.
The pound jumped on Monday, hitting a six-month high versus the euro and posted its biggest daily rise in nearly a month against the greenback after the Brexit Party said it would not contest previously Conservative held seats in the UK's election. In a significant boost for Prime Minister Boris Johnson ahead of the Dec. 12 election, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said he did not want anti-Brexit parties to win, so was standing down candidates in seats won by the Conservatives in 2017. "The Tories will be heaving a sigh of relief and it also reduces at the margin the prospect of a hung parliament," said Neil Mellor, FX strategist at BNY Mellon.
After falling nearly 0.5% at one point, the pan-European STOXX 600 index closed flat, helped by a turnaround in bank shares and gains for sectors considered safer bets during times of economic uncertainty, such as food and beverage and real estate . London's FTSE 100 led declines among the major regional indexes with a 0.4% drop, while stocks in Frankfurt fell 0.2% and Paris rose 0.1%. The exporter-heavy FTSE index was hit by a jump in the pound after the Brexit Party said it would not contest previously Conservative held seats in Britain's upcoming election, in a boost for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Investing.com -- The British pound surged on Monday as Brexit Party head Nigel Farage said his party won't contest any seats currently held by the Conservative Party at the general election on Dec. 12. The move increases the chances of the Conservative Party gaining a majority at the polls, and consequently implementing the EU withdrawal agreement secured last month by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Investing.com -- Hong Kong's police used live ammunition against protesters as disruptions to the Chinese trade hub worsen. Meanwhile, U.S. officials continue to play down hopes of a mutual tariff roll-back, Saudi Aramco publishes a 600-page IPO prospectus with no mention of price or volume, and Brexit slows the U.K. economy to a crawl. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Monday, 11th November.