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Pound pauses as May seeks assurances from Brussels

12:38 PM December 13, 2018

After surviving a vote of no confidence, albeit in a manner that wasn’t as convincing as she would have hoped, UK PM Theresa May is now turning her attention back to Brussels as she bids for further legal assurances over the Irish backstop. The pound is little changed on the day as the markets digest the latest events with the residing feeling one of short-term relief that May hasn’t been ousted, but a large cloud of uncertainty continues to hover threateningly overhead. It’s a similar story for stocks on the whole with the FTSE trading close to the level it ended Wednesday afternoon, just below the 6900 mark.

 

Tui shares jump after pleasing results       

The best performing blue-chip in London today is Tui, with the travel company’s share price rising by more than 5% to move back above the 1200p mark. The firm reported double-digit sales growth for the full year with a strong performance in hotels and cruises the chief contributors. There have been well publicised problems for travel operators of late with a heatwave seeing many holiday makers choose to take domestic breaks while strikes amongst airline staff have contributed to an all round challenging environment. Given this backdrop the results are no doubt pleasing and given that the stock has tumbled some 40% from it’s peak back in May investors will be hoping that this latest release can sew the seeds for a sustained recovery.  

 

ECB expected to confirm end of QE

The main event today for many traders will come from Frankfurt where the European Central Bank (ECB) will announce the outcome of their latest policy meeting. The central bank is fully expected to confirm that its asset purchase programme (a version of quantitative easing) will end later this month. President Draghi’s press conferences following these decisions often provide the main market-moving news, but expectations for anything major today are fairly low. Looking at the big picture the end of bond purchases from the ECB is another step along the path to an overall tighter monetary policy around the globe and given that easy central bank policy has been arguably the biggest driver of equity returns in recent years, this could signal tougher times ahead for investors.   

 

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