US markets rest before Black Friday

A cloud of uncertainty continues to hang over the FTSE 100 as it has spent almost all day bobbing around, unable to decide if it wanted to end the day in the red or black, while the US enjoys Thanksgiving. 

Wall Street sign
Source: Bloomberg

Green to collect almost £10 million

The more investors learn, the less impressive Thomas Cook's handling of Harriet Green's departure looks. Market speculation suggests there are now 10 million reasons why the now departed CEO will not be the one to spill the beans. Suffice to say her time in charge saw shares rise ninefold, and the announcement of her departure saw shares drop by over 20%. 

Once again FTSE CEO pay packages are gaining headlines; considering the issues that BG Group has had over the last couple of years, a £25 million package for new CEO Helge Lund looks more than a little generous. 

SABMiller and Coca-Cola have decided to reduce costs by sharing bottling facilities in Africa, where facilities would manufacture only the non-alcoholic beverages offered by both companies. Pitcher & Piano owners Marston’s has seen full-year figures fall by 3.6% but part of this can be attributed to a change in the accounting period.

US markets shut due to Thanksgiving

Today’s Thanksgiving bank holiday has seen US equity markets shut, but this is merely the quiet before the storm of Black Friday. Only the most tenacious shopper will be looking forward to the battle that awaits, as tomorrow US stores slash prices and throw open their doors in the run up to Christmas. Economists will be holding their breath to see how strong retail figures are as the acid test of US consumer confidence starts on Friday.

OPEC causes oil market collapse

OPEC has decided to keep oil production unchanged and the spot oil markets have subsequently collapsed as the template of oversupply and weak demand keeps the pressure on energy prices. The sound bites that came out before this meeting all inferred that Saudi Arabia was happy to maintain its market share. Historically, when it comes to altering supply levels, it has fallen on the Saudi’s shoulders to make the changes, and without their leadership few OPEC members were likely to go it alone. 

Energy prices weigh on pound and euro

Having seen the balance of power between the US dollar and both the pound and euro readdressed this morning, the afternoon's OPEC news has ended hope of this continuing. Both the UK and the eurozone have inflation at rates lower than they are comfortable with, and the likely further falls in energy prices due to OPEC maintaining output could see more pressure on these currencies. Today’s news will see Bank of England governor Mark Carney reaching for his pen and paper, as any lingering doubt that he would have to explain the inflation rate moving more than 1% away from the 2% target has now disappeared. 

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