Uncertainty reigns across the board: The markets in April

The UK market still struggles as Brexit looms, but retailers hope for a good summer.

Article updated: 30 April 2019 1:00pm Author: Graham Spooner

Stock markets in April trended higher with the FTSE up by around 2%. Traders will be hoping that the first quarter earnings season can lead to a pick-up in volumes, which have for the most part remained somewhat lacklustre.

One constant for markets has been the ongoing US – China trade talks, with suggestions that most issues had been resolved helping the markets a little.

Takeover Rumours

Companies where takeover rumours have circulated include: Northgate, Saga, Anglo American and Thomas Cook. There were also rumours that Metro Bank may need to raise more money in order to facilitate its growth plans. Increasing talk of an election put pressure on utilities, while a trading update from Taylor Wimpey, which highlighted rising costs in the industry, hit housebuilders across the board.

Drivers will have noticed the rise in the price of filling up the car. The oil price hit a six month high before falling back a little at the end of the month. This was after President Trump suggested that he would press OPEC to pump more oil to make up for Iranian sanctions.

Good and bad news for Retail

A year ago we were talking about the negative effect on retailers of the Beast from the East, but following on from a period of mild weather there were tentative signs from some retailers that the consumer had been tempted out onto the high street or was gearing up on-line for the summer months.

Staying with retailers, there was the much anticipated news from the regulator that they had officially blocked the proposed tie-up between Sainsbury and Asda. The share price fell back on the regulator's decision close to a 20-year low which has heaped further pressure on the CEO to come up with another recovery plan. Where this leaves long suffering shareholders is difficult to assess, but initial thoughts were negative.

Mixed data on the UK market

Regarding the UK market there were some stats out that may initially have given a different opinion on the health or attractiveness of our fair isle. On the one hand UK listed company profit warnings are at record levels since the financial crash of 2008, while another survey has found that Britain still tops the league for global companies looking to make overseas acquisitions. The latter was demonstrated by Canada’s Garda World Security Corp announcing that it is considering making an offer for under-pressure group G4S.

Finally the sporting month was dominated by two Tigers, one of which could give hope to many that the handicap does not necessarily have to rise in correlation to your age. Let us hope we can all get on a Tiger Roll.

All information given including prices, yields and our opinion is correct at the time of publication. Our opinions on investments can change at any time and for our latest view please go to www.share.com. To understand how our Investment research team arrive at their views please read our Investment Research Policy.

Graham Spooner portrait photo
Graham Spooner

Investment Research Analyst

Graham started out as a fully authorised dealer on the Stock Exchange trading floor and for various banks, before becoming an FCA-approved investment adviser. Now a respected voice in the media, Graham’s share tips and comments on the markets are frequently sought by the national press.

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