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FTSE 100, Wall Street and European stocks sink as rising Treasury yields rattle nerves

A look at how markets a performing on Wednesday

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street and FTSE were lower
Wall Street and FTSE were down on Wednesday. (UPI, UPI)

Wall Street followed Europe into the red on Wednesday after a spike in Treasury yields unsettled investors already weighing whether recent data will shift the needle on interest rates.

The yield on five-year Treasurys on Tuesday rose to near four-week highs, while the 10-year yield (^TNX) topped the key 4.5% level. On Wednesday, the benchmark yield inched up further to trade around 4.56%.

It came as the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) and European stocks pushed lower following the global risk-off sentiment as investors' hopes of rate cuts in the EU and the US were undermined.

Meanwhile, Royal Mail greenlit a £3.5bn takeover offer. Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský announced this morning that a recommended cash offer for parent company International Distribution Services (IDS.L) has now been agreed.

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IDS’s board backed the deal worth £3.57bn, or 370p per share, with Keith Williams, chair of IDS, saying the offer was "fair and reasonable” given the uncertainties ahead.

Under the deal, Kretinsky said Royal Mail is set to deliver first-class post six days a week for the next five years. Shares in International Distribution Services jumped 3% at the start of trading on the back of the news.

  • London’s benchmark index was 0.8% lower in afternoon trade as general election campaign continues to bring economic and corporate uncertainty

  • Germany's DAX (^GDAXI) dipped 1.1% and the CAC (^FCHI) in Paris headed 1.5% into the red

  • The pan-European STOXX 600 (^STOXX) was down 1.1%

  • Wall Street opened in the red with concerns eclipsing the hopes for AI growth that lifted the Nasdaq to a record on Tuesday

  • The pound was 0.4% down against the dollar (GBPUSD=X) at 1.2710, but hit its highest against the euro in almost two years

  • UK house movers undeterred by election, data reveals

Read more: Trending tickers: Royal Mail, Nvidia, Anglo American and American Airlines

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Financial markets are fracturing in terms of sentiment, with AI exuberance continuing to power mighty tech while worries about high interest rates lingering keep investors cautious elsewhere.

"The FTSE 100 has opened on the back foot, as stubborn inflation remains in focus and the general election campaign continues to throw up economic and corporate uncertainty."

Follow along for live updates throughout the day:

LIVE COVERAGE IS OVER25 updates
  • Blog close

    Well that's it for yet another day — thanks for following along. Be sure to join us again tomorrow when we'll be back for more.

    ... until then, have a good evening!

  • Global unemployment rate expected to fall in 2024

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) forecast said that the worldwide jobless rate will fall to 4.9% this year, down from 5.0% in 2023.

    This came in better than the 5.2% forecast in January mainly due to lower-than-expected unemployment rates in China, India, and high-income countries.

    However, the ILO also warns that inequalities in labour markets remain, with a “persistent” lack of employment opportunities.

  • Spike in debt repayments

    There has been a spike in debt repayments as costs continue to hit household budgets.

    Nationwide’s Spending Report shows that spend on repaying debt rose 25% while the number of transactions for debt repayment jumped 14%.

    There was also a rise in essential costs, up 1%, and non-essential costs, up 2% in April.

    Customers repaid unsecured debts of £735m in April – a 25% year-on-year rise, while the number of transactions to debt repayment increased by 14%.

    Many consumers have been using credit to help them deal with rising costs. On average those with a credit card are repaying £391 per month, while repayments to car finance are £267 and personal loans £195.

    However, it isn’t all bad news, with inflationary pressures easing, meaning some may find themselves in a better position to further reduce outstanding debts.

  • FTSE 100 on track for six consecutive red days

    London's benchmark index on track for its sixth fall in a row today.

    Fiona Cincotta, senior financial market analyst at City Index, said:

    “The FTSE is falling, adding to losses from the previous session, as the UK index continues to retreat from its all-time high earlier this month.

    "Stronger-than-expected US data and hawkish Fed comments have hurt risk sentiment across the markets. News that the IMF has upwardly revised China’s growth forecast to 5% after a solid first quarter and recent supportive policy measures from Beijing have helped oil majors higher but have failed to boost the miners.

    "Anglo-American is trading down 1.5% ahead of a key deadline today for a takeover deal with BHP.

  • German workers see record pay rise

    German workers received a record pay increase at the start of 2024, new figures have shown.

    According to data from the country’s statistics office, there was a 3.8% rise in real wages in the first three months of the year compared to the same period a year earlier.

    It marks the biggest jump since at least 2008. The European Central Bank is monitoring inflationary pressures in the bloc amid expectations of an imminent interest rate cut.

    The figures suggested that the increase was driven by one-off payments, and as workers caught up to losses incurred when consumer prices rose faster than their salaries.

  • Number of households who have never worked hits 12-year high

    The number of UK households that have never worked has hit a 12-year high, official data shows.

    The Telegraph has the details...

    In the first three months of this year there were 269,000 non-student households where no adult had ever been employed, the highest since spring 2012 – the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

    It also represents a 12pc jump compared with the same period a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

    Between January and March, there were 4.3 million 16 to 64-year-olds living in households where no adult was employed. This is almost 300,000 higher than the end of last year and the highest total in seven years.

    It comes amid a wider worklessness crisis that experts warn is crippling Britain’s growth as Rishi Sunak gears up for a general election in July.

    Nationally, there were 9.4 million working-age adults who were economically inactive at the beginning of the year, meaning they were neither employed nor looking for work, up by 832,000 compared with pre-pandemic levels.

    Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory MP and former business secretary, said high levels of economic inactivity were a “huge problem” for the country.

    He said:

    “If you have people who are not in work, they’re not going to be helping to boost GDP per capita. So it means the state has less money to pay either for tax cuts or public services.

    “It also encourages people to make the argument that we need mass migration because there is work that needs to be done and the people who work for us aren’t obviously doing it.”

  • Evening Standard scraps daily print paper

    Evening Standard News Vendor in Central London UK, passing paper to commuters, The Evening Standard is a free sheet distributed in London
    Evening Standard News Vendor in Central London UK, passing paper to commuters, The Evening Standard is a free sheet distributed in London (Chris Batson)

    The Evening Standard has scrapped the daily print of its paper, citing more people working from home, and a shortage of commuters as the reason.

    WiFi signal on the London Underground has also hit its readership.

    It will replace it with a new weekly publication, it said.

    In October, print circulation dropped below 300,000 for the first time since it became a free newspaper in 2009.

  • German inflation rate rises

    The inflation rate in Germany has increased this month, up to 2.4% from 2.2% in April.

    Statistics body Destatis revealed that on an EU-harmonised basis, inflation rose to 2.8% from 2.4%. Core inflation, which excludes food and energy, was unchanged at 3%.

  • Junior doctors to strikes during election campaign

    Junior doctors in England are set to stage a five-day strike in the run-up to the general election.

    It comes as the British Medical Association (BMA) gave the UK government “a final opportunity to make an offer and avoid strikes” but “this opportunity has not been taken up”.

    The union announced that junior doctors will stage a full walkout from 7am on June 27 to 7am on July 2.

    The co-chairmen of the BMA junior doctors committee, Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, said in a statement:

    “We made clear to the Government that we would strike unless discussions ended in a credible pay offer.”

    “For more than 18 months we have been asking Rishi Sunak to put forward proposals to restore the pay junior doctors have lost over the past 15 years – equal to more than a quarter in real terms."

  • BlackRock’s $20bn ETF now world’s largest Bitcoin fund

    BlackRock Incs iShares Bitcoin Trust has become the world’s largest fund for the original cryptocurrency, amassing almost $20bn in total assets since listing in the US at the start of the year.

    The exchange-traded fund held $19.68bn of the token Tuesday, dethroning the $19.65bn Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

    The third largest is the $11.1bn offering from Fidelity Investments.

  • American Airlines shares nosedive after guidance cut

    An American Airlines Boeing 777-223(ER), registration N788AN, lands at LHR, flying in from Los Angeles (LAX). Credit JTW Aviation Images / Alamy.
    An American Airlines Boeing 777-223(ER), registration N788AN, lands at LHR, flying in from Los Angeles (LAX). Credit JTW Aviation Images / Alamy. (Jack Williams)

    Shares in American Airlines (AAL) were lower in pre-market trading after the company cut its guidance on second profit as softer demand is expected to dent revenue.

    The Texas-based carrier now expects second-quarter adjusted earnings in the range of $1.00 to $1.15 per share, compared with its previous forecast of between $1.15 and $1.45 per share.

    It forecast total revenue per available seat mile, a proxy for pricing power, to be down about 5% to 6% from a year ago. That compares with a decline of 1% to 3% expected earlier.

    The airline also announced that its chief commercial officer, Vasu Raja, will leave the company next month. He has been in the role since April 2022.

    American Airlines said its vice chair and chief strategy officer Stephen Johnson will take on Raja’s brief with immediate effect.

    Shares were 8% down in pre-market trading.

  • Toyota makes new generation of combustion engines

    Toyota is set to develop a new generation of petrol-fuelled internal combustion engines, it has been revealed.

    In a joint press conference with Mazda and Subaru, the Japanese company unveiled prototype engines that will be smaller, more efficient and capable of burning eco-friendly fuels such as hydrogen.

    It said the engine is designed to be used in tandem with a battery-powered electric motor and is expected to be deployed in future hybrid and plug-in cars.

    Koji Sato, Toyota’s chief executive, said the decision underlined Toyota’s plan to cultivate “diverse options to ensure reductions in CO2 emissions”.

    Sato said:

    “To become carbon neutral, what’s most important is to reduce emissions. What we need is an engine that can efficiently use various types of fuel. The engine can’t survive in its current form. It needs to change.”

  • Gold prices fall

    Gold prices (GC=F) declined 0.5% in Wednesday trading, reflecting uncertainty over the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.

    Traders are now focused on the main economic calendar event of the week: the release of US personal consumption expenditure figures.

    Ricardo Evangelista, senior analyst at ActivTrades, said:

    "PCE is the Fed’s favourite inflation gauge, and this week’s release is expected to clarify the likelihood of a rate cut in September.

    “Expectations continue to shift regarding the Fed’s rate decisions, with the latest twist arriving on Tuesday when a senior official mentioned that some FOMC members still consider the possibility of the next move being a rate hike.

    “This led to a rise in Treasury yields and the US dollar. Against this backdrop, the price of the precious metal is likely to remain rangebound until the release of PCE data on Friday.”

  • Euro headline inflation preview for May

    Euro area core HICP inflation in May is expected to stay at 2.7% year-on-year, though services inflation is likely to rise to 3.9% from 3.7%, reflecting stubborn underlying momentum and base effects.

    Analysts at Nomura said:

    "This is likely to be a concern for the ECB, but is unlikely to stop the three rate cuts in 2024 that we expect.

    "Headline inflation is likely to be unchanged at 2.4% y-o-y due to base effects, even though the individual non-core components are likely to be weak on a sequential basis."

  • Upcoming FTSE reshuffle

    File photo dated 04/10/16 of the inside of the London Stock Exchange, which saw trading halted on hundreds of stocks on Tuesday after another outage on the stock market. In morning trading, it said it was only able to trade FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and IOB stocks following an incident. The exchange said it was investigating the issue impacting its trading and information system.Issue date: Tuesday December 5, 2023.

    Ocado and St James’ Place are in the relegation zone for the upcoming FTSE 100 review, while housebuilder Vistry looks set to be promoted.

    Meanwhile, Hargreaves Lansdown will re-enter the FTSE 100 on Friday as Flutter exits and heads for a New York listing.

    Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets, Hargreaves Lansdown:

    "The runners and riders are jostling for place in the upcoming FTSE review and the main moves in the FTSE 100 look set to be a demotion for St James’ Place and Ocado and a promotion for Vistry and DarkTrace.

    "Shares in St James’ Place are down by 24% year to date, after a torrid 10 months, putting it deep in the relegation zone. The turbulence was prompted by concerns about its business model following the introduction of the new Consumer Duty last summer which imposed a legal requirement to treat customers fairly.

    "Ocado looks set to leave the FTSE 100 in this latest reshuffle with its shares down 44% year to date. There’s been an improvement in the retail side for Ocado, with Customer numbers having passed the one million mark and volumes showing impressive growth. However, potential legal action looming with M&S over a withheld performance payment has knocked sentiment.

    "Housebuilder Vistry looks set to enter the FTSE 100 as it appears to be in an attractive position to capitalise on demand for new homes. Shares are up 37% year to date, as investors applauded its full year results and a strong growth outlook for the year ahead in terms of completions. With interest rate cuts eyed on the horizon, house prices have begun edging up again and confidence is tentatively returning to the housing market.

    "The Cambridge-based cybersecurity and artificial intelligence company Darktrace is set for a temporary place in the FTSE 100, ahead of its takeover by the US private equity business Thoma Bravo which is due to be completed later this year."

  • Monetary developments in the euro area

    The annual growth rate of the broad monetary aggregate M3 increased to 1.3% in April 2024 from 0.9% in March, averaging 0.8% in the three months up to April.

    • Annual growth rate of broad monetary aggregate M3 increased to 1.3% in April 2024 from 0.9% in March

    • Annual growth rate of narrower monetary aggregate M1, comprising currency in circulation and overnight deposits, was -6.0% in April, compared with -6.6% in March

    • Annual growth rate of adjusted loans to households stood at 0.2% in April, unchanged from previous month

    • Annual growth rate of adjusted loans to non-financial corporations stood at 0.3% in April, compared with 0.4% in March

  • Pound at highest against euro since August 2022

    File photo dated 26/01/2018 of a UK five pound, ten pound, twenty pound and fifty pound notes with one pound coins. Councils in England are more than £300 million short of the funding they need to help all of the young people coming to them who are facing homelessness, according to new analysis. Issue date: Monday April 15, 2024.
    File photo dated 26/01/2018 of a UK five pound, ten pound, twenty pound and fifty pound notes with one pound coins. Councils in England are more than £300 million short of the funding they need to help all of the young people coming to them who are facing homelessness, according to new analysis. Issue date: Monday April 15, 2024. (Dominic Lipinski, PA Images)

    The pound hit its strongest level against the euro since before 2022's mini budget crisis on Wednesday. It came as the single European currency dropped following German regional inflation data.

    The euro fell as low as 84.48p, down 0.3%, at its lowest since August 2022, also trading lower against the dollar.

    It follows signs that the ECB will deliver at least interest rate cuts by December, with the first expected as soon as next month.

  • Should you support your children at university or help them on to property ladder

    Superhuman parents will have planned ahead for the rest of their child’s life, with pots of money set aside for every eventuality. For them, the question of whether to pay their child’s university fees or help them onto the property ladder is a no-brainer – because they have plenty of cash to do both.

    For more normal parents, there’s a decent chance there’s a single pot of cash and a difficult choice to make. With A-Levels now under way, it’s crunch time for that decision.

    Anyone who started their course any time from last September is on the new student loan plan, so this calculation has changed substantially, because you could be repaying for the next 40 years. You’ll pay up to £9,250 a year in fees in England and £9,000 in Wales. On top of that, there will be living costs, some of which will be covered by the living loan.

    Some parents will feel they have a duty to cover the costs and avoid the loans, because they’re worried about their child starting life with so much debt. However, it’s worth knowing that many of them won’t feel this burden.

    Read the full article here

  • UK drivers charged highest diesel prices in Europe

    Winschoten - A motorist fills up with EURO 95 unleaded (E10). ANP / Hollandse Hoogte Venema Media netherlands out - belgium out
    Winschoten - A motorist fills up with EURO 95 unleaded (E10). ANP / Hollandse Hoogte Venema Media netherlands out - belgium out (ANP, ANP)

    UK drivers are paying more for diesel compared to anywhere else in Europe.

    According to new analysis from the RAC, a litre of diesel is selling for an average of 155p at UK forecourts, which is more than 5p more than in Ireland and Belgium. In Italy, diesel is selling for around 7p less per litre than in the UK.

    RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said:

    “The average price of a litre of diesel should really be down to around the 145p level if retailers were charging fairer prices.

    “The margin on petrol is also, in our view, unreasonably high at 13p. We can see no good reason why retailers in Britain aren’t cutting their prices at the pumps.”

    It comes as the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) said in March it was concerned about the increases in petrol station profit margins.

  • BHP pushes for extension to Anglo bid deadline

    Mining company BHP has called for a further extension to a bid deadline to allow for more talks over a takeover of rival Anglo American.

    It said the deadline should be pushed back from later today, coming after three of its takeover offers were rejected.

    It said it has proposed a number of “socioeconomic measures” to address Anglo American’s concerns about its proposal, which has been consistently rejected by Anglo.

    Anglo previously claimed the offers were too risky and complex. The latest bid valued it at £38.6bn. It came after BHP had put forward two prior bids, valuing Anglo at £31.1bn and £34bn respectively.

    BHP said:

    “BHP believes that the proposed measures it has put forward provide substantial risk protection for Anglo American shareholders and supplement the significant value uplift that Anglo American shareholders will receive from the potential combination.”

  • UK house movers undeterred by election

    House movers in the UK have been undeterred by the calling of an election, with 95% of those planning to move sticking to the plan, according to new data from Rightmove (RMV.L).

    “Previous elections would indicate we may be set for a particularly strong summer once the election is over, especially if interest rates start to fall," said Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert.

    "However, every election is different, and it would depend on whether any significant housing policies are also introduced, so we’ll need to wait and see what happens to have a better view of activity for the rest of the year.”

    Analysis of year-on-year buyer demand changes around the 2015 and 2019 elections also highlights steady activity in the lead up to a vote.

    Demand is measured by the number of people sending enquiries about properties for sale on Rightmove's website, and year-on-year change has been used to remove the usual seasonal peaks and troughs in the market.

    In the two months leading up to the May 2015 election, buyer demand increased by 5% year-on-year in March, and by 6% in April. During the election month demand increased to 9% year-on-year, with the increase moving to 18% up in June, as the market benefitted from a post-election boost.

    Read the full article here

  • Nvidia's market value surges closer to Apple

    Nvidia's (NVDA) shares rallied 7% yesterday to hit a record high, leaving the AI chipmaker's stock market value about $100bn away from overtaking Apple (AAPL).

    Nvidia's market capitalization reached $2.8tn, compared to a market value of $2.9tn for Apple, which is Wall Street's second-most valuable company after Microsoft.

    It comes as Nvidia's shares have surged 13% since it forecast second-quarter revenue above Wall Street expectations last week and announced a stock split, which excited investors as they continue to bet on the AI poster child.

    Derren Nathan, head of equity analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown, said:

    "The market has been struggling to keep up with the company's ever improving growth trajectory. At a mid-thirties forward earnings multiple, this still doesn't feel like bubble territory."

  • Royal Mail owner accepts £3.57bn takeover offer

    Royal Mail greenlit a £3.5bn takeover offer. Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský announced this morning that a recommended cash offer for parent company International Distribution Services (IDS.L) has now been agreed.

    IDS’s board backed the deal worth £3.57bn, or 370p per share, with Keith Williams, chair of IDS, saying the offer was "fair and reasonable” given the uncertainties ahead.

    Williams said:

    "The IDS Board has negotiated a far-reaching package of legally binding undertakings and commitments which provide our customers, employees and broader stakeholders with important safeguards.

    "These cover the provision of the one-price-goes-anywhere Universal Service Obligation (including First Class letters still delivered six days a week), the financial stability and maintenance of the IDS Group including Royal Mail, the maintenance of employee benefits and pensions, and ensuring Royal Mail remains headquartered and tax resident in the UK."

    Under the deal, Kretinsky said Royal Mail is set to deliver first-class post six days a week for the next five years. Shares in International Distribution Services jumped 3% at the start of trading on the back of the news.

  • Asia and US stocks

    Stocks in Asia mostly fell overnight amid concerns about the likelihood the US Federal Reserve will not cut interest rates at all this year.

    The Nikkei (^N225) slipped almost 0.8% on the day in Japan, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) fell 1.7% in Hong Kong. The Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) was just 0.05% higher by the end of the session.

    Across the pond on Wall Street, the Nasdaq (^IXIC) managed to rise past the symbolic 17,000 barrier, and close above it for the first time as AI leader Nvidia hit a record high. It ended 0.59% higher at 17,019.88.

    It came as investors were also caught off-guard by a sharp improvement in a U.S. consumer confidence measure for May.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell 0.55% to 38,852.86 and the S&P 500 (^GSPC) gained 0.02%, closing at 5,306.04.

    US Treasury yields pushed to a near four-week peak on Wednesday. The yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasury bonds rose to 4.54%, from 4.473% late on Friday.

    Equivalent Japanese yields hit the highest since December 2011 at 1.07%, while Australian yields jumped to a more than three-week top of 4.428%.

  • Coming up...

    Good morning, and welcome back to our live markets blog. Here we will be taking a look at what's moving markets and happening across the global economy.

    Let's see what's on the agenda for today:

    • 7am: Trading updates: Pets at Home, Bank of Georgia Group

    • 7.45am: French consumer confidence for May

    • 9am: EU M3 Money Supply

    • 12pm: US weekly mortgage applications

    • 1pm: German inflation data for May

    • 3.30pm: US Crude Oil Inventories

Watch: How does inflation affect interest rates?

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