The Santa rally gave investors a bit of a boost as we moved towards 2018. At the time of writing the FTSE 100 index was up by around 4% over December.
Although market activity tends to fall away over the festive period it was worth noting that a Canadian consortium announced a bid approach for IWG (formally Regus) on the 27 December.
Over the month we have noted rumours regarding a number of companies that could be a future target. These include; Vectura, Shaftesbury, LSE, Inmarsat, William Hill, Capital & Counties. There has also been a lot of speculation regarding Sky in light of the approach from Disney for 21st Century Fox. Whitbread shares, which have trended sideways over the past two years, on concerns that the growth storey for Costa Coffee is slowing, received a boost on news that an activist investor has built a stake in the company, increasing speculation that pressure will grow for the group to separate its two main businesses.
Unfortunately there was another profit warning from a well-known UK name, Saga. Like many we thought the over 50’s market would help the group in what is a crowded market place, but challenges appear to be increasing.
As the year draws to a close market watchers will reflect on successes, with the majority of asset classes showing a positive. However, one area of the market to come under increasing pressure since the summer months has been commonly held income orientated shares such as Centrica, SSE, Glaxo, United Utilities and Sainsbury.
There will be the usual flow of crystal ball gazing for investors to consider in the first weeks of January. So far the majority of predictions are for the markets to continue to move higher, but at a potentially slower pace.
England’s late rally in the Ashes could be just the boost we need to kick off the new-year. But don’t forget the soccer World cup is set for June and another Brexit of sorts.
We wish all our readers a very happy new year.
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