4th October 2013
Markets have been clouded by the political grandstanding in the US this week, which has seen the government shut down for the first time in 17 years writes Philip Scott.
The FTSE 100 closed on Friday at 6,453.88, just 4.84 points up on the day and 1% lower on the week, following another muted day of trading.
Today marks the fourth day of the US government partial shutdown after the House Republicans refusal to agree with spending plans which included President Obama’s affordable health care scheme, which is already signed into law.
Congress needs to agree a budget urgently otherwise it risks defaulting on its debt payments on 17 October unless its debt ceiling is raised.
By the close of the UK market today, the US Dow Jones index was off by almost 2% over the week.
Back on the UK leader-board consumer-goods giant Unilever, off 4% at 2,366p, admitted it is enduring a tough period in the world’s emerging markets, which had a knock on impact on many developing world reliant stocks as analysts became more bearish.
Brewing giant SAB Miller, the owner of brands such as Peroni and Kozel, dropped 5% to 3,013p. The miners fared worse, with Aggreko suffering the steepest fall over the week, down 10% at 1,442p, while Fresnillo dropped 9% to 913.5p and Glencore Xstrata closed 4% looser at 331p.
Enjoying a better time was UK insurer Aviva, which this week completed a £1.7bn sale of its US life and pensions business. It is the week’s top riser, after firming 3% to 414.8p. Fellow insurer Prudential rose, by 2% at 1,181p. A more optimistic view of the UK property market took house builder Travis Perkins 2% up to finish at 1,685p.
Within the banking sector, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays are up 2% apiece at 373.2p and 271.35p respectively. Lloyds managed to firm 1% to 74.91p while HSBC was flat at 677.3p.
Some of the country’s largest retailers reported to the market this week, where the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, unveiled a significant 23.5% fall in profits during the first half of its financial year, blaming the tough trading conditions, notably in Europe. Over the week the stock is flat at 361.p while for its part Sainsbury enjoyed a rise in its quarterly sales albeit of 2%. Sainsbury boss Justin King also noted the challenges of the difficult market environment. Its shares fell 1% to 389.8p.
Next week sees market updates arrive from Vedanta Resources and BAE Systems.