UK banks sanction fewer mortgages in December

January 28th, 2015

The British Bankers’ Association revealed mortgages for house purchase in the UK fell to 35,667 in December compared with 36,657 in November. The December reading was the lowest since 2013.

UK interest rates may rise earlier than expected

January 27th, 2015

According to the Bank of England’s rate setter Kristin Forbes, there is a high probability of inflation rising ahead of expectations, leading to an earlier-than-anticipated hike in interest rates. Falling oil prices and robust growth in the US may drive consumption in the UK.

Leftist party Syriza sweeps Greece elections

January 26th, 2015

Today, the left-leaning Syriza Party won the Greek national elections through a decisive mandate. The victory could put Greece in a possible collision with the European troika (EU, ECB and IMF) over the renegotiation of repayment of the US$325bn bailout funds. The election results are likely to add uncertainty to the Eurozone.

CBI expects weaker exports in the next three months

January 23rd, 2015

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) industrial trends survey showed a balance decline to +1 in January from +9 in the previous survey in August. The total book balance fell to +4 in January compared with +5 in December.

U.S., U.K. Drive Late 2015 Rate Hikes: Michael Franklin on Bloomberg’s “On the Move”, 21st September 2015

January 22nd, 2015

Michael Franklin, chief investment strategist at Beaufront Securities, talks with Manus Cranny about expectations for global rate moves in 2015 and his concerns for equity markets. He speaks on “On The Move.” (Source: Bloomberg) – 21/01/2015

UK households optimistic over financial prospects

January 22nd, 2015

The Markit household finance survey, a measure of financial well-being for the next one year, revealed the index rose to 45.6 in January from 43.2 in December, inching closer to the 50 mark that separates pessimism from optimism.

Former BOE governor doubts effectiveness of QE programme

January 21st, 2015

Mervyn King, former Bank of England governor, raised concerns that further monetary stimulus programmes by the ECB may not be of much help to the struggling Eurozone. He indicated the huge trade surpluses in China and Germany as well as the low saving rate in the UK may curb the effectiveness of the QE programme.

IMF downgrades global growth forecast for 2015-16

January 20th, 2015

Yesterday, the IMF released the World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update that projected an economic expansion of 3.5% in 2015 and 3.7% in 2016. The organisation warned that poor growth prospects in prominent economies may offset the positive impact of the lower oil prices. The October forecast for 2015 and 2016 stood at 3.8% and 4.0% respectively.

UK house prices improve in January

January 19th, 2015

Rightmove, a property tracking website, revealed the average asking price in the UK increased 1.4% m-o-m in January after an upwardly revised 2.2% contraction in December. The house prices rose 8.2% y-o-y compared with a 7.0% y-o-y gain in the previous month.

IMF chief warns of lacklustre economic growth

January 16th, 2015

Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, stated that a stronger US economy and cheaper energy are not sufficient to accelerate the global growth. Majority of the countries suffer from high debt and unemployment, whereas many companies are cutting back investments, she added. However, the chief praised the UK economy, calling it one of the global growth drivers.

UK house price growth eases in December

January 15th, 2015

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors stated the monthly house price balance fell to +11 in December from +13 in November. The agency ascribed the slowdown to tighter lending rules, taxation and the upcoming national election.

World Bank trims global GDP growth outlook

January 14th, 2015

In view of the discouraging economic prospects in the Eurozone, Japan and other emerging economies, the World Bank lowered its global growth forecast to 3.0% for 2015 from 3.4%, as estimated in June 2014. The bank also cut its global GDP growth estimate for 2016 to 3.3% from 3.5% predicted earlier.

UK retail sales decline in December

January 13th, 2015

According to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), retail spending increased 1.0% y-o-y in December vis-à-vis a 2.2% gain in November. The consortium ascribed the lower growth in sales to the Black Friday discount offered in November. Considering the lower prices, retail sales volume grew 2.6% y-o-y in December, the BRC mentioned.

UK’s Q4 GDP growth eases to 0.6%: NIESR

January 12th, 2015

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) estimated the UK’s GDP growth slowed to 0.6% from October-December, following a reading of 0.7% for the three months to September. As per the release, the economy grew 2.6% in 2014 compared with 1.7% in 2013.

UK house price growth eases in December

January 9th, 2015

As per mortgage lender Halifax, annual growth in house prices in the UK slowed to 7.8%y-o-y at the end of December from 8.1% in November. The average house price stood at £188,858 in December 2014 vis-à-vis £ 187,197 in November 2014. For 2015, the growth in house prices is estimated at 3%-5%.

Merkel confident of Greece’s position in Eurozone

January 8th, 2015

Yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her certainty about Greece upholding its commitments. Merkel backed Greece for abiding by the bailout terms of other Eurozone governments.

Fall in UK shop prices decelerates in December

January 7th, 2015

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), UK shop prices declined 1.7% y-o-y in December compared with a 1.9% fall in November. Food prices inched up 0.1% after dropping 0.2% in the previous month. The survey reflects price changes in over 500 products.

Eurozone investor confidence rises in January

January 6th, 2015

According to a survey by Sentix, the Eurozone investor confidence index improved to 0.9 in January from negative 2.5 in December. Meanwhile the expectations index climbed to 13.5 from 12 and the current situation index climbed to -11 from -16.

Euro hits nine-year low as ECB prepares stimulus scheme

January 5th, 2015

The euro fell to its weakest since 2006 against dollar, amid speculations the ECB is moving towards a large-scale bond buying programme. Heightened concerns over Greece’s political situation also impacted the currency.

BoS raises growth forecast for the country

December 24th, 2014

Bank of Spain (BoS)’s economic bulletin showed the economy is expected to grow 0.6% q-o-q in Q4 2014, taking the annual growth to 1.9% for 2014. Spain’s GDP is forecasted to grow 1.4% in 2014 (previous estimate: 1.3%) and 2.0% in 2015.

UK’s upbeat jobs market may face skill shortage in 2015

December 23rd, 2014

According to a survey by Confederation of British Industry, around 50% of the UK businesses are planning to employ more people in 2015. However, due to an impending skill shortage many posts are likely to remain vacant.

12 Deals of Christmas (No.12) – Speculative Buy Caza Oil & Gas (CAZA.L) at 9p

December 22nd, 2014

Last Thursday, Caza Oil & Gas (CAZA.L) announced the result of the first development well at the Bone Spring well at the non-operated Marathon Road property and the initial test well on the operated East Marathon Road Property. The 3rd Bone Spring development well has been dug to an approximate depth of 15,625 feet. The production rates under the controlled flowback for the 15OB-1H has improved to 1,928 barrels of oil equivalent (bbloe) in 24 hours, comprising of 1,698 barrels (bbls) of oil and 1.38 million cubic feet (mcf) of gas. Further, data from the 1st and 2nd Bone Spring Sand intervals have also indicated the presence of oil and natural gas. The next horizontal 3rd Bone Spring well is scheduled to commence drilling operations from Q1 2015.

UK firms intend to increase salaries in 2015

December 22nd, 2014

According to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry, nearly 43% of the total participating firms expect to hike salaries in proportion to the retail price index during their next pay review, with about 12% firms planning to increase salaries by a higher rate.

GFK consumer confidence declines in December

December 19th, 2014

A GFK survey revealed that the consumer confidence index fell to -4 in December, a 17-month low, from -2 in November. Moreover, the prospects are unlikely to improve in the near future as GfK’s measure of economic optimism index dropped to its lowest level since July 2013.

Challenges and opportunities for the Global economy and markets in 2015

December 18th, 2014

In looking at the prospects for 2015, apart from the understandable obsession with the fall in the price of oil, one longer term consideration stands above all the economic, social and geopolitical factors. Will Central Banks manage to implement the right policies at the right time ? Will the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, for instance, time correctly raising their interest rates to avoid jeopardising the economic recoveries for which so much sacrifice has been made ? Assuming the recoveries are sustained, will they react too late and have to fight a rearguard action on inflationary pressures? Will Abenomics finally deliver for Japan and will the European Central Bank be ‘allowed’ to add broader monetary support to economies where there seems to be a national lack of political will or courage to implement more robust fiscal measures ? Can China succeed in rebalancing its economy while maintaining a good level of growth?

12 Deals of Christmas (No.11) – Sell Poundland Group (PLND.L) at 320p

December 18th, 2014

The market appears to be convinced that the Poundland (PLND.L) story will run forever. The recent spike in the Group’s share price has taken its rating to some 25x to 26x 2015 earnings – a multiple that suggests the Group operations are both high-quality and defensible, while offering long-term visibility of earnings. The reality is that this is asking just too much.

UK households optimistic about financial prospects

December 18th, 2014

Markit’s Household Finance Index, which gauges households’ overall financial health, declined marginally to 42.7 in December from 42.8 in the previous month. The indictor was above the 2014 average reading and the third highest in the survey’s 71-month history.

Barry Gibb on – 17/12/2014

December 17th, 2014

Beaufort research analyst, Barry Gibb speaking about Poundland Group (PLND.L), Flow Group (FLOW.L), Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO.L), Fox Marble (FOX.L), Smith & Nephew (SN.L) and Kingfisher (KGF.L) on (Source: – 17/12/2014

12 Deals of Christmas (No.10) – Buy Whitbread (WTB.L) at 4,402p

December 17th, 2014

Whitbread (WTB.L) recently released its interim management statement for the 13 weeks to 27th November 2014. Total sales expanded 13.2%, with a like-for-like (LFL) growth of 6.4%. Costa led, with a total sales rise of 17% and 5.2% on an LFL basis. Premier Inn sales increased 15.4% with LFL sales widening by 8.5%. Hotels and restaurant segment too contributed with a growth of 11% in total sales. Year-to-date total sales growth stood at 13% whereas the LFL sales was recorded at 6.7%. Premier Inn reported a year to date rise of 14.9% in total sales and Costa recorded a growth of 16.9%. In the year-to-date, the company installed 623 Costa express machines and opened 2,177 UK rooms.

BoE unveils result of banks’ stress test

December 17th, 2014

The Bank of England (BoE) conducted stress tests to assess the ability of UK’s lenders to survive a financial downturn. The Co-operative Bank failed the test, while five major banks passed the test. However, amongst them, Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland were found to be in a risky position.