Home Economics FTSE 100 slips below 7,900 ahead of more big tech earnings

FTSE 100 slips below 7,900 ahead of more big tech earnings

FTSE 100 closes 21 points lower
US stocks under pressure ahead of tech results
AB Foods falls as cost pressures dent margins

4.40pm: FTSE finishes lower

The UK’s main index slipped below the 7,900 benchmark to finish at 7,891 points on Tuesday.

Stocks traded lower in the afternoon as a warning from UPS and lower oil prices raised recession fears, said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG.

“Investors continue to trim exposure to stocks as this week’s earnings barrage gets underway. UPS’ forecast of a weaker economy is just the kind of warning investors don’t want to hear, and has likely prompted a round of selling on renewed recession fears,” Beauchamp said. 

“With so much riding on this week’s figures, caution is still the watchword. US regional banks are under pressure again too, another sign that the rally’s foundations are weakening.”

3.50pm: Watch out

Watches of Switzerland saw its shares jump 6% on Tuesday after markets blog Betaville – curated by former Telegraph reporter Ben Harrington – highlighted takeover speculation surrounding the firm.

In an ‘Uncooked Alert’ on Tuesday, Betaville said that people following the situation had heard rumours that Watches of Switzerland has attracted interest.

The identity of the company circling Watches of Switzerland is unclear, it added, although there was some suggestion it could be a luxury goods giant.

Other people following the situation suggested a private equity firm may be interested in the business, which prior to listing on the London market was owned by US firm Apollo, the blog site said.

3.30pm: Bitter Pill to swallow

After its deputy governor this morning denied that the Bank of England caused the worst inflation surge in the UK for more than 40 years by its quantitative easing money printing programme, Huw Pill, the Bank’s chief economist, has now told Brits that they “need to accept” they are poorer as a result of higher inflation.

Speaking to the ‘Beyond Unprecedented’ podcast, produced by Columbia Law School, CityAM reported Pill as saying “what we’re facing now is that reluctance to accept that, yes, we’re all worse off, and we all have to take our share to try and pass that cost on to one of our compatriots, and saying we’ll be alright, but they will have to take our share too”.

“That pass-the-parcel game that’s going on here … is generating inflation, and that part of inflation can persist,” he added.

The chief economist also addressed criticism of the Bank’s handling of inflation, admitting the BoE was not alive to the dangers of blocked global supply chains and the effect that would have on pricing.

“If we had understood supply chains better than we did. We could have probably understood that this was going to be a more difficult process than we anticipated,” he said.

Pill, a former Goldman Sachs banker, said the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) need to see an increase in joblessness to “reassure” them that inflation is headed back towards their 2% target.

3.10pm: Joules jolted

Next PLC has said it is accelerating transition plans for Joules, which it took over late last year after the troubled fashion brand fell into administration, and has launched consultations over potential job losses.

The deal saw Next secure the future of 1,450 workers at Joules and 100 stores, although 19 stores were shut as part of the move.

As part of the takeover deal Next, took a 74% stake in the business, with Joules founder Tom Joule owning the remaining 26%.

Next said it has made “significant progress” since the takeover was agreed and it is now set to transfer Joules’ online operation onto its own Total Platform logistics system in October this year, five months ahead of schedule.

Next said the move was intended to secure “cost savings” at Joules but will mean that “a number of tasks performed by Joules personnel will be absorbed into Next teams or no longer be needed”.

“Where roles are no longer required, Next will be working with those affected to ensure that they are considered for any suitable vacancies at Next, whose Head Office is located close to Joules’ headquarters in Market Harborough,” Next added in a statement.

2.50pm: Fall back position

The FTSE 100 index dropped back towards session lows as US stocks fell at the open as investors geared up for the kick-off of Big Tech earnings, starting with Microsoft and Alphabet due after the New York close.

Around 20 minutes after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrials Average was down 55 points, or 0.2% at 33,820, while the S&P 500 had lost 0.6%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.7%.

OANDA senior market analyst Craig Erliam noted that equity markets were under pressure amid the wide array of earnings releases and as investors eyed US data due later in the week.

“Interest rate expectations have become more hawkish in recent weeks, but investors don’t appear convinced it’s going to unfold that way,” Erlam said.

“We’re still looking for weaknesses in the labour market and signs of inflationary pressures softening, something we could see over the next couple of months at which point expectations could be pared back once more.”

2.30pm: Take a break

KitKat maker Nestle SA saw its sales rise in the first quarter even having hiked the prices of its products by almost 10% in the past year to offset a “significant” rise in costs.

Despite the increases, the world’s biggest food firm saw global sales rise by 5.6% to CHF 23.5bn (£21.3bn) in the first three months of 2023.

Nestle said sales of its confectionary worldwide increased in the past three months despite it increasing the prices of its more than 2,000 brands. Aside from Kit Kat, the Swiss firm is best known in the UK for chocolate sweets Smarties, cereals such as Shreddies and Cheerios, Nescafe and Nespresso coffee, fizzy drink San Pellegrino, and Purina pet food.

“Nestle’s showing just how important it is to have a strong suite of brands, which have allowed the consumer giant to push through some pretty hefty price hikes with little impact on volumes,” said Matt Britzman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

2.10pm: A look at the top risers and fallers on the junior market today

N4 Pharma PLC shares rose 16% after the company revealed that its delivery system for cancer drugs and vaccines has generated early, positive results.

McBride PLC (LSE:MCB) shares soared nearly 16% higher after the manufacturer and supplier of domestic household products said it expects its full-year results to be ahead of current market expectations.

Eckoh PLC (AIM:ECK, OTC:EKTPF) shares jumped 18% in early trade after the customer engagement software specialist said its profits would surpass market expectations.

Hornby PLC (LSE:HRN) dropped over 8.5% after the models and collectibles company reiterated its forecast of a “modest” full-year loss.

Fire Angel Safety Technology Group PLC (AIM:FA.) shares dropped 29% due to ongoing global supply chain challenges and delays in securing significant contracts.

RWS Holdings PLC (AIM:RWS) saw its shares drop 16% after the language translation specialist warned on profits.

Focusrite PLC (AIM:TUNE) saw its shares fall nearly 13% on Tuesday after the global music and audio products company reported a drop in half-year revenue and earnings.

1.00pm: US seen lower as earnings pile in

US stocks are expected to open lower on Tuesday as investors await another big batch of corporate earnings including from some of the world’s largest technology companies including Google owner Alphabet.

Futures for the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) were 0.3% lower in pre-market trading, while those for the broader S&P 500 and for the tech-laden Nasdaq-100 both fell 0.5%.

On Monday, the DJIA closed up 66 points, or 0.2%, at 33,875, while the S&P 500 added 0.1%, but the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.3%.

First Republic Bank (NYSE:FRC) stock tumbled 21% in out-of-hours trading after the lender’s results showed it had lost around $100 billion in customer deposits during the recent banking turmoil.

Alphabet and Microsoft are the headliners of the day’s batch of mega-cap earnings, though both numbers are due after the close of trading on Tuesday. McDonalds, PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP), United Parcel Service, and Visa are also set to release earnings during the session.

Joshua Mahoney, chief market analyst at Scope Markets commented: “With a long list of corporate earnings slated for the day ahead, US index futures are sitting very much on the back foot. Consumer discretionary and tech firms are set to dominate with names ranging from McDonalds and PepsiCo to Alphabet and Microsoft all on the list although yesterday’s impressive numbers from Coca-Cola do offer some optimism over the state of retail spending.”

He added: “In terms of economic data, the release of the US House Price Index will be under some scrutiny as this could tip into negative territory month-on-month, although it would take more than a modest decline here to spook traders, given this metric has been broadly unchanged since last summer.

“Markets will also be looking towards next week’s FOMC meeting, seeking further hints that this will be the last twist in the Fed’s policy tightening gambit. Any suggestions that there’s more to come – most likely baked into Friday’s PCE Price Index – could again layer fresh downside on stocks.”

12.42pm: Post-it note maker 3M to shed further 6,000 jobs

3M said it would cut a further 6,000 jobs globally as part of restructuring actions it hopes will help it reduce costs and improve margins as it battles slowing consumer demand.

The latest job cuts at the Post-it notes maker is in addition to the 2,500 global manufacturing positions it cut in January.

The Minnesota-based company expects to take pre-tax charges of US$700mln to US$900mln, including those actions announced earlier this year, with about half of those charges landing in 2023.

The company reported a 9% fall in sales to US$8bn in its first quarter but this topped Wall Street forecasts. 

12.35pm: CBI survey shows pricing prices easing on manufacturers

British factory orders and output contracted this month, while manufacturers stockpiled more finished goods, according to the CBI’s latest industrial trends survey.

The monthly gauge of industrial orders held at negative 20 in April, matching March’s two-year low.

Cost pressures receded further, as wages and raw material costs rose at a slower rate.

The report said: “Growth in average costs per unit of output and growth in average domestic prices have now slowed for four successive quarters.”

“Manufacturers expect growth in costs and domestic prices to ease further in the quarter to July.”

Gabriella Dickens, senior UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the survey “provides some early signs that the downturn in the manufacturing sector is starting to bottom out.”

She pointed out that “manufacturers were the most upbeat about the outlook for demand since Q4 2021,” while “the net balance of manufacturers intending to increase investment in plant and machinery rose to +14 in Q2, from +8 in Q1, perhaps supported by the full capital expensing tax breaks announced in the Budget.” 

12.18pm: BoE’s Broadbent suggests inflationary pressures may be starting to turn

Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent has said there are signs that inflation pressures are easing.

Speaking to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), Broadbent commented: “In the last three months, notwithstanding the release we had last week, there are signs in the official data and also in the surveys of some of that pressure starting to come off – not nearly to the extent that we need it to, but some of it just may be beginning to turn.”

Broadbent also defended the Bank’s policies on quantitative easing (QE) arguing that the highest inflation since the 1970s can’t be blamed on QE – which involves the creation of central bank reserves to buy financial assets from commercial banks.

He insisted: “Certainly the very strongest claims – that QE inevitably leads to rapid growth of commercial bank deposits (M4), on a par with that in the central bank’s balance sheet; and that this, in turn, inevitably leads to excessive inflation – are not well supported by the evidence.”

Broadbent pointed out that the first bout of QE, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, did not spark a surge in prices.

“In the decade or so that passed between the first use of the policy in 2009 and the onset of the pandemic, reserves grew extremely rapidly.

“Yet broad money growth was significantly slower than it had been before the crisis,” he said

11.45am: GM and Pepsi lift guidance

A big day of results in the US as well. A couple of early releases of note.

Car maker, General Motors, has raised its profit guidance by US$500mln for the year, citing strong customer demand and better production, plus cost reductions flowing more quickly to the bottom line.

The company increased its operating profit range from US$11bn to US$13bn, up from US$10.5bn to US$12.5bn. First quarter operating earnings totalled US$3.8bn, down 6% on last year, but above Street expectations.

“We’re feeling confident about 2023,” GM chief financial officer Paul Jacobson said.

Meanwhile, soft drinks and snacks maker, PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) also raised guidance.  It said it expects 8% organic revenue growth for the full year, up from 6% before and 9% EPS growth, up from 8% previously.

But first quarter EPS fell to US$1.40 from US$3.06 last time while net income more than halved to US$1.9bn from US$4.3bn last time.

Both GM and Pepsi shares are higher in pre-market trading in New York.

Tech giants Microsoft and Alphabet will report after the closing bell in New York later today.

11.25am: NatWest chair Howard Davies to step down

NatWest Group PLC (LSE:NWG) chair Howard Davies, who is one of the longest-serving bank bosses in the UK, is preparing to step down by 2024.

He told shareholders at today’s AGM that a ‘rigorous search process’ will take place, so he can step down before he has spent nine years at the bank.

Referring to recent collapses in the global banking sector, Davies said “poor risk management and long-standing, idiosyncratic challenges were largely to blame for those failures”.

But he noted: “The NatWest Group, by contrast, has built a robust and resilient balance sheet with strong capital and liquidity, a largely secured retail loan book and well-diversified Commercial lending.”

“Tight risk management underpins our strategy and ensures we are well-positioned for the future,” he added.

11.06am: UBS attracted US$28bn during Credit Suisse crisis

 A busy morning in Europe as well with markets also losing ground.

In Frankfurt, the Dax is 0.1% while in Paris the Cac 40 is underperforming its European peers down 0.7%. In London, the FTSE 100 is down 0.3%.

One of the more notable results came from Swiss bank, UBS Group AG (NYSE:UBS), which said its wealth business attracted US$28bn of new money in the first quarter, benefiting from the deepening crisis at Credit Suisse that led to its takeover of the stricken rival.

The Zurich-based firm reported a drop in first-quarter income in a period “characterized” by persistent concerns about interest rates and economic growth, “exacerbated” by questions about the stability of the global banking sector. Net profit fell 47% to US$1.03bn in the quarter while revenue rose 9% to US$8.74bn.

The bank said it expected to complete the acquisition next month and would provide more details about the integration and its plans to wind down much of its rival’s investment bank over the rest of the year.

Recently reappointed UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti said: “With this transaction, we expect to reinforce our position as a leading and truly global wealth manager with strategic scale and complementary capabilities in the most attractive growth markets.”

Shares fell 1.5% to CHF17.92 each.

10.43am: Central banks end daily dollar swaps

The world’s top central banks are ending the emergency action they took last month to keep dollars flowing through the global financial system.

The Bank of England, Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank have decided to end the daily dollar-swap lines they set up with the Federal Reserve to reassure markets after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Instead, the BoE will revert from daily operations to once per week.

However, in a statement, the BoE said it “continues to stand ready with other central banks to re-adjust the provision of US dollar liquidity as warranted by market conditions.” 

The Bank of England said they decision was taken in view of the improvements in US dollar funding conditions and the low demand at recent US dollar liquidity-providing operations.

The swap operations were designed to help central banks around the world to supply local banks with US dollars, an important safe haven asset, during times of market stress.

9.53am: Vodafone’s top investor in talks over make-up of telco’s Board

Shares in Vodafone Group PLC (LSE:VOD) bucked the weaker market trend rising 2% after Bloomberg reported its biggest shareholder, Emirates Telecommunications Group Co., has opened talks with the British telecom group over the make-up of its board.

Bloomberg cited a regulatory filing from the firm on Monday in which the company, which is majority owned by the United Arab Emirates’s sovereign wealth fund, said it began discussions on April 12 about the board’s non-executive directors in order to engage on a variety of issues at Vodafone.

Also known as e&, the investor now owns 14.6% of Vodafone, up from 14%. 

Vodafone’s shares have been steadily declining for years and the company has struggled to appease investors with attempts to streamline the business and sell assets.

The stock slid to two-decade lows after ousting previous Chief Executive Officer Nick Read in December, and the company has yet to name a new CEO. 

9.38am: Plenty to cheer in Whitbread results

Whitbread remained the top performer in the FTSE 100.

Derren Nathan, Head of Equity Research at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “There’s plenty of cheer in Whitbread’s results today.”

He noted revenue growth of over 50% has seen Whitbread surpass pre-pandemic levels at both the top and bottom line.

“Its strong brand in UK midscale hotels sees it consistently outperform the wider market and hoover up market share, while still maintaining price discipline,” Nathan added.  

He pointed out that despite inflationary pressures across the cost base and growth in the estate, margins in the UK hotels division were well ahead of last year and only slightly below those seen in 2020.

Despite the strong performance Nathan said: “There’s work to do on branding in Germany, but it’s bedding down in the country and given  the strong track record we wouldn’t bet against Whitbread making a success of its expansion.”

While Whitbread remains in the green, the FTSE 100 is in the red, down 17 points, well off earlier lows.

9.00am: Investors in cautious mood 

The FTSE 100 remained on the back foot in early exchanges with investors digesting a hefty batch of European earnings and looking ahead to some key updates from US tech giants later today.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets, Hargreaves Lansdown said: ‘’Caution is in the air ahead of the results from big tech rolling in, and the latest snapshot of US consumer confidence.” 

“Investors are assessing the extent to which nervousness about what may lie ahead for economies is holding back marketing budgets and delaying purchases by shoppers.”

Whitbread PLC (LSE:WTB) sits top of the FTSE 100 risers after reporting strong profit and revenue growth alongside a £300mln share buyback.

“We see clear further upside risks to consensus forecasts for FY23/24,” said analysts at Barclays.

But Associated British Foods PLC (LSE:ABF) tumbled 5.5% after its results. The owner of Primark reported flat profit despite strong growth in sales in both its Food and retail divisions but cost and inflationary pressures hit margins.

UK banks were a weak feature as Santander UK made cautious comments over the weaker housing market.

The bank flagged a decline in mortgage applications by 37%, amid a slowdown in the housing market with house prices set to fall back to 2021 levels.

Shares in NatWest fell 2.1% and Lloyds Banking Group by 2%.

8.40am: Grocery price inflation falls but too early to call the top

Grocery price inflation dipped but it is too soon to call the peak, according to market research firm, Kantar.

Kantar said consumers are still paying 17.3% more than this time last year at UK supermarkets but that’s slightly lower than last month’s 17.5% grocery inflation.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “The latest drop in grocery price inflation will be welcome news for shoppers but it’s too early to call the top.” 

“We’ve been here before when the rate fell at the end of 2022, only for it to rise again over the first quarter of this year.” 

“We think grocery inflation will come down soon, but that’s because we’ll start to measure it against the high rates seen last year.  It’s important to remember, of course, that falling grocery inflation doesn’t mean lower prices, it just means prices aren’t increasing as quickly.”

The data covering the four weeks to April 16 showed demand for own-label goods has soared, up 13.5% year on year, with the very cheapest value lines soaring by 46%.

Amid rising prices, both Aldi and Lidl hit new record market shares over the latest 12-week period at 10.1% and 7.6% respectively. 

Lidl was the fastest-growing grocer with sales increasing by 25.1%, while Aldi was just behind on 25.0%.  

Fraser McKevitt expands: “Consumers are continuing to shop around, visiting at least three major retailers every month on average.  The discounters have been big beneficiaries of this, with Aldi going past a 10% market share for the first time this month. “

The three largest grocers continued to grow at similar rates in the 12 weeks to 16 April 2023, Kantar said. 

Asda led the pack with sales up 8.8% year on year, giving the retailer a 14.0% share of the market.  Tesco and Sainsbury’s weren’t far behind with their sales increasing by 8.0% and 8.7%, claiming 27.0% and 14.9% of the sector respectively. 
Morrisons’ sales continued to increase, and it now holds an 8.7% share of the market. Co-op’s market share stands at 5.7%, with sales growing by 2.7% in the latest 12 weeks. 

Waitrose’s sales increased by 3.2%, its best performance since June 2021, pushing its market share to 4.5%.  Iceland matched the 12-week market growth rate of 9.4%, maintaining its level of share at 2.2%. 

Ocado outpaced the overall online market, increasing sales by 8.7%. 

8.10am: FTSE 100 slips ahead of US earnings

The FTSE 100 opened lower as investors look ahead to a key batch of US tech earnings this week and despite better-than-forecast UK borrowing figures.

At 8.10am, London’s lead index stood at 7,879.48, down 32.72 points, or 0.41%, while the FTSE 250 fell to 19,165.09, down 61.85 points, or 0.32%.

The UK government borrowed £139.2bn in the full 2022-23 financial year, less than official forecasts expected as recently as March, providing a boost for the government at the start of a new financial year.

Borrowing was £13.2bn less than the Office for Budget Responsibility had forecast even after the second-highest borrowing number for March since records began in 1993, the Office for National Statistics said. 

Revenues however were £4.1bn lower than OBR forecasts in 2022-23, suggesting economic performance was not as buoyant as the fiscal watchdog had expected.

The public sector’s net worth was in deficit by £605.8bn at the end of March, the ONS said.

For March, public sector net borrowing (PSNB ex) in March was £21.5bn, £16.3bn more than in March 2022, and the second-highest March borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.

In company news, Primark owner, Associated British Foods PLC (LSE:ABF) reported flat profit at the half-year stage despite strong growth in sales as inflationary pressures ate into margins.

In the 24 weeks to 4 March 2023, group revenue reached £9.6bn, up 17%, but adjusted pre-tax profit at £667mln was flat when compared to last year’s £666mln.

“Inflation dominated the economic and commercial environment for all our businesses,” said chief executive George Weston.

AB Foods’ shares fell 3%.

Premier Inn owner Whitbread PLC (LSE:WTB) has unveiled a £300mln share buyback helping push shares 4.5% to the good.

Profit and revenue at the budget hotel operator jumped ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

The company which runs 847 hotels in the UK and Germany reported £413mln in adjusted profits in the year to early March, up 15% from last year.

Annual revenues totalled £2.6bn, up 27% on pre-pandemic levels and Whitbread said it was boosted by reduced competition from independent hotels in the UK. 

Building materials firm, Travis Perkins (LSE:TPK) PLC, said it delivered a “resilient” first-quarter trading performance with total sales down by 2.8% amid challenging market conditions. Shares slipped 2%.

In a first-quarter update for the three months to 31 March 2023, the Northamptonshire-based building materials firm said trading volumes in the Merchanting business were impacted by weakness in the new build housing and domestic repair, maintenance and improvement markets.

Nick Roberts, chief executive, said: “The timely actions taken to prepare our businesses for a lower demand environment mean that we continue to expect to deliver a full-year performance in line with market expectations.”

7.49am: Travis Perkins sees full year in line despite challenging market conditions

Travis Perkins PLC (LSE:TPK) said it had delivered a “resilient” first quarter trading performance with total sales down by 2.8%1 amid challenging market conditions.

In a first-quarter trading update for the three months to March 31, 2023, the Northamptonshire-based building materials firm said trading volumes in the Merchanting business were impacted by weakness in the new build housing and domestic repair, maintenance and improvement markets.

Nick Roberts, Chief Executive, said: “The timely actions taken to prepare our businesses for a lower demand environment mean that we continue to expect to deliver a full year performance in line with market expectations.”

Trading was stronger in the commercial, industrial and public sector markets, which represent just under half of the group’s end market exposure, which saw more resilient demand.

Travis Perkins said merchanting sales price inflation moderated from the second half of 2022 but remained elevated at 9.0% mainly driven by the rollover of price increases from prior year but also reflective of pass-through of further manufacturer increases on some key product lines in 2023

Overall, Merchanting total sales were down by 4.7% in the quarter.

Toolstation delivered a good performance in the first quarter with total sales growth of 8.6% and like-for-like sales growth of 4.6% with sales in Europe up 14%.

7.33am: Rising costs eat into AB Foods’ profits

Associated British Foods PLC (LSE:ABF) reported flat profit at the half-year stage despite strong growth in sales as inflationary pressures ate into margins.

For the 24 weeks ended to March 4 2023, group revenue reached £9.6bn, up 17%, but adjusted pre-tax profit at £667mln was flat when compared to last year’s £666mln.

“Inflation dominated the economic and commercial environment for all our businesses,” said chief executive George Weston.

In Food sales increased across all businesses, up 23% to £5.3bn while Primark sales rose 19% to £4.2bn reflecting good growth in all countries.

“We chose not to recover all the input cost inflation in Primark and actions on price in our Food businesses lagged input cost inflation as usual, and margin declined in the first half as a result,” Weston added.

In Food, the firm highlighted an exceptionally strong adjusted operating profit performance in Ingredients, up 62%.

AB Foods said sugar crop and inflationary challenges were offset by a strong Illovo performance.

At Primark, adjusted operating profit totalled £351m with a margin of 8.3%. The firm plans a push into the southern states of the US including a new store in Texas. To support this AB Foods is locating its second US distribution centre in Jacksonville Florida and construction is progressing well.

It is also restructuring its Primark business in Germany to return it to profitability as well as open new stores.

For the full year, adjusted operating profit in its Food businesses is expected to be modestly ahead of last year while Primark adjusted operating profit is also seen “broadly in line with the previous financial year.”

Referring to Primark, AB Foods said: “We expect like-for-like sales growth in the second half although we expect that growth to moderate from that in the first half.” 

The dividend was raised 3% to 14.2p.

7.05am: FTSE 100 set to open lower

The FTSE 100 is expected to make a weak start to trading after falls in Asia and as investors look ahead to another busy of corporate news.

Spread betting companies are calling London’s lead index down by 26 points.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrials Average closed Monday up 66 points, 0.2%, at 33,875, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 35 points, 0.3%, to 12,037 and the S&P 500 added 4 points to 4,137.

After the NY closing bell, First Republic Bank (NYSE:FRC) announced that its first-quarter 2023 revenue fell 13.4% to US$1.2 billion, while its diluted earnings per share for the period dropped 38.5% to US$1.23, as the company experienced unprecedented deposit outflows following the collapse of two other mid-sized banks that sparked fear from customers.

In Asia on Tuesday, the Nikkei 225 index was up 0.1%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was down 1.2%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 2.1%.

Back in London and the early focus will be on half-year results from Primark owner, Associated British Foods and full-year results from Whitbread. It’s also another busy day across the pond with results from Microsoft and Alphabet.

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