FTSE nudges higher at start of week

A profit warning by Lufthansa has sparked a sell-off in airline shares but rallies in pharma and banking stocks balanced out the declines and helped the FTSE nudge higher.

A profit warning by Lufthansa has sparked a sell-off in airline shares but rallies in pharma and banking stocks balanced out the declines and helped the FTSE nudge higher. 

Banking stocks benefited from an unusual manoeuvre by Deutsche Bank which is preparing to fence off all of its slightly riskier assets into a separate unit and then sell them off later this year.

The pound continues to lose ground after a brief respite over the weekend and is trading at $1.2576. Much of sterling’s slide has to do with the UK leadership race where Boris Johnson now holds a firm lead. And although he seems keen to assure the markets that he is not in favour of a no-deal Brexit, reading his comments more carefully it becomes clear that no-deal is fairly likely.

Fed: will it or won’t it this week?

Bets are on whether the Federal Reserve will opt for a rate cut when it meets later this week, or postpone until its next meeting, with bond yields pricing in a smaller likelihood for a cut this month and a very high likelihood for a cut in July.  But the underlying economic numbers don’t justify a cut yet. Some of the recent data has also not been as good as Wall Street would have liked, but nevertheless shows that the US economy is in fairly good shape and may not need a rate cut just yet.

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