Rumours circulate and dollar strengthens: The markets in March

Private equity money continues to find attraction in the UK.

Article updated: 29 March 2019 1:00pm Author: Graham Spooner

Stock markets in March have been a little mixed and at times rather subdued, with the FTSE 100 likely to finish with a small gain, while the more UK-focussed FTSE 250 has trended lower, probably as a result of the inevitable ratcheting up in Brexit issues.

On the corporate front private equity money continues to be attracted to UK quoted companies with an approach for satellite company Inmarsat. There have also been vague suggestions that another group may be tempted to make an offer. Companies where rumours have circulated include ConvaTec and Debenhams, where hardly a day has gone by without comment on its refinancing plan or what the intentions of the Sports Direct boss are. Other rumours involved a possible dividend cut at BT Group and that Melrose are close to a sale of part of GKN. There was also news that an activist investor is putting pressure on vehicle hire group Northgate.
A timely reminder in these low interest rate times for investors to remain vigilant in light of investors losing their savings at London Capital & Finance. They were apparently offering higher returns; Remember, if it looks too good to be true then it probably is, and you are advised to look elsewhere.

The recovery in the gold price is showing signs of petering out, possibly linked to rising markets, a stronger US dollar and hopes for US / China trade talks.

There was a bit of an ECB stimulus U-turn as a result of economic headwinds in Europe, by stating that interest rates would remain low into next year and once again offering cheap loans to banks in the region.

The B-word that I am not going to mention again is likely to dominate the UK markets into April. However the cricket season will also start, which this year will involve a World Cup, followed by the Ashes, both of which we should win and for David Warner to replace politicians as the most disliked entity in the land.


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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 FSA-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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