Good morning everyone,
US stock markets were closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the session on Friday will end early, at 13:00 New York time (Eastern).
Beyond the US, stocks in Asia sank on Friday due to fears that bills signed this week by President Trump, supporting the Hong Kong protestors, could escalate trade tensions between the US and China. At the time of writing, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 2.02% and China’s CSI 300 index was down 0.87%, plus Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix indices also fell marginally. In Hong Kong, Chinese technology giant Tencent’s shares fell by more than 2% on Friday morning.
Ocado leads the FTSE 100 after announcing new robot warehouse
The FTSE 100 index fell by 0.18% on Thursday, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 index pushed past a 20% gain for the year so far. Grocery delivery firm Ocado Group was the biggest winner of the day among the UK’s largest companies, with its share price climbing 3.6% after announcing its intention to open a new “customer fulfilment centre” in Bristol.
Shares are up a further 12% this morning with the company announcing a partnership with Japanese supermarket group Aeon Co. This takes the two day performance to nearly 18% which is probably better than any Black Friday deal shareholders could have asked for
One weight on UK shares on Thursday was several companies going “ex-dividend” – the date that any new buyers of stock don’t qualify to receive the declared dividend. Vodafone and National Grid closed 3.9% and 1.1% lower respectively after hitting their ex-dividend dates.
FTSE 100: -0.18% Thursday, +10.23% YTD
FTSE 250: +0.33% Thursday, +20.12% YTD
What to watch
Due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, there are a minimal number of companies reporting earnings today and Monday.
US retailers: The major event for US markets at the end of the week will be Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Sales metrics will be watched closely, with names such as Amazon, Target, Best Buy and Walmart vying for their slice of the pie. According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 165.3 million people will shop between Thanksgiving (Nov. 28th) and Cyber Monday (December 2nd). The split between those planning to start their shopping in store and online is almost even and, in the build-up, Google searches for all of the retailers named above have accelerated.
China factory activity: After China’s industrial profits posted their steepest fall in eight months earlier this week, a number of purchasing manager index measures for China will be released between Friday and Tuesday (see a calendar view here). The numbers will provide an update on the country’s economic health as it continues to hammer out a trade deal with the US, as purchases made by the manufacturing sector tend to fluctuate in reaction to consumer demand.
At the time of writing, the three major crypto currencies – Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple XTR – were down slightly compared to the past 24 hours.
Bitcoin is currently trading at $7,477.16 while Ethereum is trading at $152.49 and Ripple at $0.22.
In other news, Ghana is reportedly eyeing the launch of its own digital currency. According to, the governor of the West African country’s central bank confirmed that the project is in the “sandbox environment”. It follows the likes of China, the EU and the US, all of which are planning their own digital currencies.
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