Lloyds, IAG shine on otherwise dull day

The sun is shining, market volumes are low and there is a very real chance the Ashes will not make it to a fourth day. These factors combined almost guarantee long lunches in the City will be de rigueur today.

Lloyds sign outside a branch
Source: Bloomberg

There’s still no sign of an end to the monotony of reporting the setting aside of additional funds by UK banks for PPI mis-selling. Lloyds’ total bill was revealed to be running at £13.4 billion this morning. But despite these historical indiscretions, the government has had little difficulty reducing UK taxpayers’ holding in the bank to just under 15%. Now the question hanging over George Osborne’s head is whether he should carry on selling while the selling’s good, or hold some back for the discounted market placing he promised before the election.

IAG CEO Willie Walsh loves a challenge, and having whipped Iberia into shape, as witnessed in this morning’s figures, he is now relishing the prospect of concluding the deal to take over Aer Lingus – and the inevitable battles with the unions that any restructuring will require. The growing conglomerate of airlines will be enjoying the benefits of lower oil prices and the eased conditions should enable senior management to fully focus on the Irish airline’s issues.

As the US comes to the end of this latest reporting season, it’ll be left to this afternoon’s University of Michigan consumer sentiment figures to drum up a little interest in the markets. US traders, much like their counterparts in London, will be forgiven for looking to start the weekend early, especially as Monday will bring a plethora of manufacturing PMI data to absorb. Hopefully that should add a touch of adrenaline to these lacklustre markets. 

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