The FTSE 350 plunged in early trading Wednesday, but recovered to finish the day slightly ahead. Place your bets for Thursday.
UK market volatility continues
Those expecting market volatility Wednesday were not disappointed. UK markets fell early in the day after the International Monetary Fund issued extraordinary criticism of chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax-slashing policies and urged a rethink.
Things stabilised later in the day after the Bank of England stepped in to start buying up government debt. The FTSE 100 ended the day back above 7,000 points, but only just, with a 21-point rise to 7,005. The FTSE 350 regained 10 points to finish at 3,855.
If anyone expects a calm day Thursday… well, it might be wise not to hold one’s breath.
US markets picking up
With no mini-budget crisis to deal with, US markets had a good day Wednesday. The S&P 500 put on 2% to reach 3,719 points.
The Nasdaq, meanwhile, climbed back above 11,000 points, with another 2% rise to end the day at 11,052. The technology stock index is still way down on last July’s peaks.
US Gross Domestic Product figures are due. But other than that, there seems to be little that might upset Thursday markets at the moment.
High street fashion news
Fashion chain Next will deliver first-half results, and going on August’s update they should be decent. With full-price sales up 5%, the company lifted its full-year profit guidance by £10m to £860m. What the latest economic upsets will do to that is anybody’s guess.
Pub and restaurant chain Mitchells & Butlers will give us a fourth-quarter trading update. At Q3 time, things were looking reasonable, with just a modest 1.5% decline in like-for-like sales in the first nine months. Full-year results are due in November.
Thursday is ex-dividend day for a number of companies, and we shouldn’t be surprised to see their share prices drop accordingly.
Hays, the recruitment specialist, is going ex-dividend with respect to its full-year ordinary dividend plus a special, amounting to a total of 9.22p per share. Housebuilder Barratt Developments also reaches full-year ex-dividend date. Both are currently engaged in share buyback programmes too.
It’s interim ex-dividend date for a number of companies. They include Smurfit Kappa Group, Computacenter, Games Workshop Group and Rightmove.
Dividend payments coming
Companies sending out interim dividends Thursday include HSBC Holdings, Mondi and M&G, all in the FTSE 100.