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Global Market Report - March 14, 2018

Asia-Pacific markets fell on Wednesday, but European equities were lifted by comments by ECB President Mario Draghi

James Gard 14 March, 2018 | 10:54AM


The ousting of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by President Trump helped to unsettle already fragile sentiment on Wall Street on Tuesday. This had the inevitable knock-on effect on Asia-Pacific markets, which again were stifled by dollar weakness. Japanese equities showed their usual sensitivity to the fall in the US currency, so the Nikkei 225 dropped back away from the 22,000 points level with a fall of nearly 1% on the day.

Chinese losses were restricted by news that the industrial production in the country was stronger than expected, although retail sales for February came in below expectations.


In the eurozone, exchanges were modestly higher. Angela Merkel was sworn in as Chancellor for what is expected to be her final term, while ECB President Mario Draghi promised to avoid nasty surprises as QE is withdrawn. His speech to the “ECB Watchers” conference suggested that bond purchases would remain in place as inflation remains subdued, which provided a fillip to European equities.

In the UK, the FTSE 100 was led on Wednesday morning by insurance giant Prudential (PRU), which announced plans to split into two London-listed companies: the UK and Europe business will be run under M&G Prudential, while Asia, US and African customers will be served by Prudential. The parent company’s shares were up around 4% in early trading.

Supermarket Wm Morrison (MRW) was off nearly 1% despite forecast-beating annual results and the announcement of a special dividend. Pre-tax profits were up from £337 million in 2016 to £374 million in the year to February 4. A special dividend of 4p takes the full-year payout to over 10p a share – the company’s shares currently yield just below 2%.

North America

Tuesday’s inflation data had less impact on stock, bond and currency markets than political developments. Today we have February’s retail sales in view. Sales are expected to have grown 0.3% month on month, against a contraction of 0.3% in the previous month.

US futures suggest that the stock market is set to rebound at the open on Wednesday.

Looking ahead to Thursday’s earnings, Adobe (ADBE) reports after the market closes, while Broadcom (AVGO) – recently caught up in a takeover battle that ended in President Trump’s intervention – reports numbers after the market closes.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

Securities Mentioned in Article
Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Adobe Systems Inc225.55 USD3.05
Broadcom Ltd254.87 USD-4.81
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets PLC211.00 GBX-0.19
Prudential PLC1,913.50 GBX-1.54
About Author

James Gard  is subeditor for