Don’t dismiss bankers’ predictions of the bitcoin bubble – they ought to know

When in charge of Wall Street’s greatest bank calls a bubble, the planet inevitably sits up and listens, although with a feeling of in the past weighted irony: obviously a good investment bank boss would place disaster after his industry presided during the last one. Jamie Dimon, the main executive of JP Morgan, stated a week ago the ascendancy from the virtual currency bitcoin – that has risen in cost from approximately $2 this year to greater than $4,000 at points this season – advised him of tulip fever in 17th-century Holland. “It is worse than tulip bulbs,” he stated. “It might be at $20,000 before happens, but it’ll eventually inflate. I’m just shocked that anybody can’t view it for what it’s.Inches

Dimon’s surveys are a wide open invitation for derision from individuals who, appropriately, explain that although JP Morgan might be the surface of the Wall Street heap, that heap is certainly not the moral high ground. Under Dimon’s leadership, it’s agreed a $13bn settlement around regulators over selling dodgy mortgage securities – the instruments behind the loan crunch – and it is run-ins with watchdogs incorporate a $264m fine this past year for hiring the kids of Chinese officials to be able to win lucrative business in exchange.

However it doesn’t lead him to wrong. The most fundamental description of bitcoin – an intellectual test on the componen with describing a collateralised debt obligation – elicits mental pictures of an electronic back-alley covering game. A bitcoin is really a cryptographic means to fix an intricate equation. It’s not as recognisable for you or me like a unit of worth as, say, $ 1 bill or perhaps a prize conker. There’s no central authority validating the development of bitcoins – rather, they’re documented on an open electronic ledger known as a blockchain. Should you regard the financial institution of England being an all-effective insurer for that pound, there’s no such institution behind bitcoin.

This insufficient a main authority is among the explanations why Dimon cavilled such strong terms a week ago. Within the interstices of unregulated finance lurk ne’er-do-wells.

“If you had been a medication dealer, a killer, things like that, you’re best doing the work in bitcoin than $ $ $ $,Inches he stated. “So there might be an industry for your, but it might be a restricted market.”

Hyperbole aside – murderers don’t always require a digital wallet to fulfil their ambitions – Dimon is referencing a properly-trailed outcomes of bitcoin and narcotics. The currency can also be susceptible to online hackers. With no backstop central bank, heist victims are in position to lose everything, just like the collapse from the MtGox bitcoin exchange in 2014. Getting a home loan denominated in bitcoins isn’t advisable and, fortunately for individuals stupid enough to test it, you will not look for a high-street bank prepared to underwrite it.

But a few of the perceived flaws behind bitcoin that alarm Dimon – no central authority, an open ledger of transactions – indicate the principles of the new financial establishment. In the jargon-busting lexicon of finance How you can Speak Money, the writer John Lanchester described the way the high clergymen of ancient Egypt controlled agriculture – by extension the economy – via a carefully guarded ton measurement system referred to as a nilometer which was hidden behind a lot of mumbo jumbo. Dimon, a contemporary high priest, faces an adversary value system in bitcoin. It’s no temple, no central authority and utilizes a rubric that he’s no control. Quite simply, it’s an alternative financial establishment, whose recognition is inextricably associated with the ebbing of rely upon the worldwide system which was triggered through the recession.

If bitcoin fails, or perhaps is discredited, another system will rise to consider its place, with no imprimatur of Dimon or his peers round the altar.

First-time buyers beware: this rate rise might just be the beginning

House proprietors, and would-be house proprietors, beware. Change is originating. Most around the Bank of England’s financial policy committee against raising rates of interest appears huge, confirmed at 7-2 a week ago. However the language is tightening round the nation’s finances.

Spare capacity throughout the economy – unfilled jobs and unspent money – has been whittled away more rapidly than formerly thought and inflation continues to be prone to overshoot its 2% target within the next 3 years. Yes, wage growth is running below an inflation rate which has now hit 2.9%, but all signs now indicate that 7-2 split flipping another way come November.

Because the Bank stated, “some withdrawal of financial stimulus will probably be appropriate within the coming months”. It was firmed up the very next day by Gertjan Vlieghe, formerly probably the most anti-rise MPC member, as he stated the financial institution was “approaching the moment” to have an increase.

Market punters now think there’s a 42% possibility of a boost in November, and most 50% in December. The present split around the MPC masks the weighing of trade-offs – between economic growth and inflation, publish-referendum stability and curbing personal debt – that is ever delicate and shut to some tipping point.

An interest rate rise from .25% at the moment to .5% won’t be any disaster and would just represent coming back towards the previous record low, which in fact had lasted from 2009 towards the EU election. What should hone borrowers’ minds is the idea of further increases – as hinted by Vlieghe. Inflation remains stubbornly high something must be completed to temper someone lending surge growing at 10% annually.

Households might deal with moving to .5%, but when an interest rate increase augurs a sustained move against cheap borrowing and chronic inflation, a wider re-think of ambitions, from getting further in the housing ladder to purchasing a brand new vehicle, is going to be needed. As well as for individuals this is not on the housing ladder, about one step up might be extinguished altogether.

Disney hopes its The Exorcist choice uses the pressure wisely

Disney’s selection of creative talent recently continues to be impeccable, getting handed the Avengers franchise to Joss Whedon and employed Lin-Manuel Miranda to co-write the background music for Moana. Nevertheless its decisions within the The Exorcist world have unravelled recently.

The director of Rogue One, Gareth Edwards, was sidelined during reshoots, as the directing duo behind the brand new Han Solo film, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, were fired altogether shortly before shooting finished. Most lately, Jurassic World helmer Colin Trevorrow was yanked from the final The Exorcist instalment before filming started.

A week ago, Disney announced it had been handing the ultimate film within the latest The Exorcist trilogy to JJ Abrams, the creator of Lost and director of The Pressure Awakens, the show that launched this Jedi triptych. Abrams is really a conservative choice, by Disney’s recent standards. What the studio needs at this time is really a safe set of on the job the lightsaber.

Bitcoin value plummets after China orders buying and selling in currency to cease

The need for bitcoin collapsed below $3,000 (£2,200) at some point on Friday after Chinese government bodies announced a attack around the digital currency.

Q&A

What’s bitcoin and it is it a poor investment?

Q&ampA

Bitcoin may be the first, and also the greatest, “cryptocurrency” – a decentralised tradable digital asset. It could be a bad investment may be the $70bn question (literally, since this is the current worth of all bitcoins around). Bitcoin are only able to be utilized for a medium of exchange as well as in practice continues to be much more essential for the dark economy of computer has for many legitimate uses. The possible lack of any central authority makes bitcoin remarkably resilient to censorship, corruption – or regulation. Which means it’s attracted a variety of backers, from libertarian monetarists who enjoy the thought of a currency without any inflation with no central bank, to drug dealers who choose the truth that it’s difficult (although not impossible) to follow a bitcoin transaction to an actual person.

The virtual currency, which emerged as a direct consequence from the 2008 economic crisis, fell as little as $2,972 on Friday – a small amount of 40% from the a lot of $5,000 earlier this year – before recovering to around $3,600 within the mid-day.

The drop came after Beijing purchased cryptocurrency exchanges to prevent buying and selling and block new registrations, because of fears that growing quantity of consumers piling in to the market could prompt wider financial problems.

“All buying and selling exchanges must by night time of 15 September create a notice to create obvious once they stop all cryptocurrency buying and selling and announce an end to new user registrations,” the federal government notice stated, based on Chinese condition newspaper Securities Occasions.

BTCChina, among the greatest Chinese exchanges, stated on Thursday it might stop all buying and selling by 30 September. It had been adopted by a number of other exchanges, including OkCoin and Huobi, announcing closures on Friday.

Jamie Dimon, the main executive from the greatest US bank, JP Morgan, cautioned the digital currency was “a fraud” that will “eventually blow up”.

Bitcoin value graph

Dimon stated he’d fire “in a second” anybody in the investment bank discovered to be buying and selling in bitcoin. “The currency isn’t likely to work. You cannot possess a business where individuals can invent a currency from nothing and believe that those who are purchasing it are actually smart,” he stated. “If you had been a medication dealer, a killer, things like that, you’re best doing the work in bitcoin than $ $ $ $.Inches

A number of Dimon’s former colleagues hit back, suggesting he didn’t comprehend the currency. Alex Gurevich, an old JP Morgan executive, tweeted: “Jamie, you’re an excellent boss and also the GOAT [finest of-time] bank Chief executive officer. You aren’t an investor or tech entrepreneur. Please, STFU [shut the fuck up] about buying and selling.”

Alex Gurevich (@agurevich23)

Jamie, you are an excellent boss and also the GOAT bank Chief executive officer. You are not really a trader or tech entrepreneur. Please, STFU about buying and selling $BTC.

September 12, 2017

David Coker, a specialist in bitcoin at Westminster Business School, stated it had been surprising that Dimon attacked bitcoin as JP Morgan ran its very own cyrptocurrency known as Quorum. “One can’t help but question if Mr Dimon’s comments regarding cryptocurrencies would affect JP Morgan’s own choices, whenever they arrived at market?” Coker stated.

Bitcoin is really a fraud which will inflate, states JP Morgan boss

Bitcoin is really a fraud which will ultimately inflate, based on JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon, who stated digital currency was just fit to be used by drug dealers, murderers and individuals residing in places for example North Korea.

Speaking in a conference in New You are able to, in charge of America’s greatest bank stated he’d fire “in a second” anybody in the investment bank discovered to be buying and selling in bitcoin. “For two reasons: it’s against our rules, and they’re stupid. And both of them are harmful.”

Q&A

What’s bitcoin and it is it a poor investment?

Q&ampA

Bitcoin may be the first, and also the greatest, “cryptocurrency” – a decentralised tradable digital asset. It could be a bad investment may be the $70bn question (literally, since this is the current worth of all bitcoins around). Bitcoin are only able to be utilized for a medium of exchange as well as in practice continues to be much more essential for the dark economy of computer has for many legitimate uses. The possible lack of any central authority makes bitcoin remarkably resilient to censorship, corruption – or regulation. Which means it’s attracted a variety of backers, from libertarian monetarists who enjoy the thought of a currency without any inflation with no central bank, to drug dealers who choose the truth that it’s difficult (although not impossible) to follow a bitcoin transaction to an actual person.

He added: “The currency isn’t likely to work. You cannot possess a business where individuals can invent a currency from nothing and believe that those who are purchasing it are actually smart.

“If you had been in Venezuela or Ecuador or North Korea or a lot of parts like this, or you were a medication dealer, a killer, things like that, you’re best doing the work in bitcoin than $ $ $ $,Inches he stated. “So there might be an industry for your, but it might be a restricted market.”

Bitcoin is really a virtual currency that emerged as a direct consequence from the economic crisis. It enables individuals to bypass banks and traditional payment processes to cover products or services. Banks along with other banking institutions happen to be worried about bitcoin’s early associations with money washing an internet-based crime, and contains not been adopted by government.

bitcoin

It’s greater than quadrupled in value since December, hitting about $4,700 recently before falling back. It fell by about 5% after Dimon’s comments on Wednesday to below $4,000.

“It is worse than tulip bulbs,” Dimon stated, talking about a famous market bubble in the 1600s. He predicted big losses for individuals purchasing bitcoin. “Don’t ask me to short it. It may be at $20,000 before happens, but it’ll eventually inflate,Inches he stated. “Honestly, I’m just shocked that anybody can’t view it for what it’s.Inches

However, the banker revealed his daughter had bought bitcoin: “It increased and she or he thinks she’s a genius now.”

A week ago, Lady Mone launched a significant property rise in Dubai, priced in bitcoins, saying digital currency would be a growing market that may ‘t be overlooked.

a London property developer is allowing its tenants to pay for their deposits in bitcoin – the very first time the cryptocurrency has been utilized within the United kingdom residential homes market.

Through the finish of the year the Collective may also accept rent payments within the virtual currency. It stated the move was as a result of demand predominantly from worldwide customers.

Dimon’s critique from the currency coincided having a warning in the United kingdom financial regulator against a speculative craze in initial gold coin choices (ICOs), where internet start-ups are funded by investors using cryptocurrencies for example bitcoin.

Within an ICO, a trader pays in bitcoins to acquire a “coin” or “token” that’s essentially their be part of the firm.

The FCA stated anybody purchasing ICOs should be ready to lose all of their money. “ICOs are extremely high-risk, speculative investments,” it stated. “You should take heed to the potential risks involved … and eager to get rid of your whole stake.”

Yann Quelenn, an analyst in the online bank Swissquote, stated bitcoin “still has great potential”.

“We believe it is a potential safe place. Less than .01% from the world’s population includes a bitcoin wallet,” he stated. “If this could achieve 1%, the interest in bitcoin would skyrocket, since there are only 18m coins available.

“Cryptocurrencies really are a new asset class, one at war with fiat [paper] money, which war is going to be fought against on regulatory issues. Central banks want to preserve their monopoly on money, something they’re not going to forget about with no fight.”

Provident Financial looking for demotion as FTSE loses ground

Bombed-out Provident Financial’s troubles look set to follow the doorstep loan provider likely to crash without warning-nick index within the coming reshuffle.

Provident’s shares edged lower 9.5p to 906.5p on Tuesday, passing on an industry capitalisation of £1.34bn, meaning it’s almost sure to drop in to the FTSE 250.

The sub-prime lender’s shares collapsed a week ago, shedding 66pc in a single day-to 589.5p after it issued another profit warning, ditched its leader, cancelled the dividend and revealed it had been facing a regulatory analysis. Almost £1.7bn was easily wiped off its market price because the shares stepped from greater than £17.00 last Tuesday.

Since that time they’ve rebounded somewhat however the gains look inadequate to avoid its demotion, with Gulf region hospital operator NMC Health set to replace it all within the FTSE 100.

Peter Crook, Chief executive officer of Provident Financial, left the organization after its troubles were revealed last week  Credit: Jane Mingay

The prospect of NMC’s promotion unsuccessful to thrill dealers yesterday, using its shares largely flatlining, off 5p at £26.65.

The reshuffle depends on Tuesday’s closing prices and are available into effect following the market closes on Friday September 15. 

The FTSE 100 itself was hardly in rude health either. It closed lower .87pc to 7,337.43, getting fallen as almost as much ast 1.7pc to some 16-week lower in early buying and selling. Its performance was echoed across European bourses as investors reacted to North Korea’s ballistic missile launch. France’s CAC 40 shed .94pc and Germany’s DAX lost 1.46pc.

Accentuating the losses was the dollar’s weakness, making United kingdom and European equities relatively more costly for all of us buyers.

“Equities are firmly at a negative balance after North Korea delivered its greatest provocation in 2 decades,” stated Mike van Dulken at Accendo Markets. “The hurry for safe havens and ditching from the dollar is leading to unwelcome sterling and euro strength, hurting the FTSE and DAX.”

ITV shares dived on the possibilities of weakening advertising markets Credit: Neil Hall

The greatest loser within the London market was ITV, off 4.9pc at 153p after being worked a blow by German broadcaster ProSiebenSat1. It cautioned of the flat TV advertising market, contributing to negative sentiment brought on by WPP’s similar alert a week ago.

Also heading lower were supermarkets Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, losing 3.7pc, 2.3pc and 1.8pc correspondingly, responding to Amazon . com saying it might slash prices at Whole-foods, the upmarket grocer it bought for £10.7bn captured. However, Marks & Spencer, apt to be Whole Foods’ primary rival, bucked the popularity, rising .5pc.

“I totally accept the structural threat Amazon . com represents,” stated JP Morgan analyst Borja Olcese. “But it’s not an issue in isolation. There’s even the rise of e-commerce and also the discounters too.”

North Korea’s sabre-rattling and also the resulting flight to safety meant gold and silver miners were in focus, and Randgold Sources was the greatest climber around the FTSE 100, up 4.6pc to £79.15, adopted by Fresnillo, wearing 2.6pc to £16.21. 

Provident woes mount as ��35m boss walks

Peter Crook, the Provident Financial boss, raked in additional than £35m throughout his decade as leader from the troubled doorstep loan provider, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal, an amount prone to anger investors located on huge losses following its startling meltdown.

Mr Crook was lower last Tuesday following the Bradford-based group sent its second profit warning in three several weeks and saw around £1.7bn easily wiped off its value overnight. 

Mr Crook results in that which was among the Footsie’s best compensated leader jobs by having an annual pay packet 40pc greater compared to average salary. He earned £6.3m this past year, and £7.5m in 2015, once the business was accepted towards the FTSE 100.

Their annual reports reveal that his bonuses, salary, share incentive schemes and benefits between 2007 and 2016 totalled greater than £35m.

Shareholders could be further incensed after it emerged that the organization is nearly sure to crash from the FTSE 100 within the future.

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that Provident faces ejection in the blue-nick index during its quarterly reshuffle on Wednesday, another stripe torn from the now bruised status.

Inside a summer time of shock stock exchange slides, its 66pc fall from elegance last Tuesday continues to be probably the most dramatic. The obliteration of Provident’s share cost was the only greatest one-day fall within the good reputation for the FTSE 100.

Provident Financial

It came following the botched update from the company’s doorstep lending arm triggered a brand new profit warning, the departure of Mr Crook, and also the scrapping of their dividend.

The organization miscalculated an overhaul of their 4,500-strong door-to-door sales pressure departing the company with “zero value” based on analysts at JP Morgan Cazenove, that also functions as Provident’s corporate broker.

Provident’s share cost retrieved 22pc on Friday carrying out a management shake-up in the home credit division however the jump rarely is in enough to prevent demotion towards the mid-cap rankings. A spokesman for the organization declined to comment. 

Royal Mail can also be teetering around the fringe of losing its blue-nick badge of honor the very first time since privatising in 2013. Anglo-South African asset manager Investec and UAE-based NMC Health are two of the most likely candidates browsing the wings to snap up their places.

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Brexit to provide EU jobs boom with 80,000 new positions predicted in Frankfurt

​Brexit is placed to provide a significantly-heralded jobs boom with more than 80,000 new roles to become produced – in Frankfurt.

A brand new report released by lobby group Frankfurt Primary Finance discovered that the expected increase of 10,000 financial services staff within the next 4 years – fuelled by moving plans along with a banking exodus from London – can lead to the development of as much as 87,667 new roles through the Rhein-Primary-Region.

The research measured Brexit’s impact on non-financial job development in the town and also the surrounding region across industries as diverse just as real estate, auto trade, healthcare and technical services, and the increase in tax receipts for municipality.

It predicts an additional 191 million euros (£176 million) in local tax revenues for Frankfurt each year, when comprising the extra tax, value-added tax and native business tax.

Even in line with the report’s “prudent” scenario, the Brexit ripple effect would lead to a minimum of 35,913 new jobs outdoors of monetary services, as well as an additional 136 million euros (£125 million) in annual tax revenues for Frankfurt.

“The job growth will further advance the economical strength of Frankfurt and also the region. A genuine success story for everyone concerned,Inches Hubertus Vath, md of Frankfurt Primary Finance, stated.

“Now, you should absorb and shape this growth positively. That’s a challenge. However, the extra jobs also bring the funds to take a position and master the task.Inches

This news is yet another bitter blow to Brexit backers including Boris Manley, who this past year predicted that as much as 300,000 new jobs could be produced inside the United kingdom when the country dicated to leave the EU.

The now-foreign secretary was citing research in the Election Leave campaign which claimed the United kingdom had overlooked 284,000 jobs because of the European Union’s failure to strike trade contracts with the kind of Japan, India and also the US.

Rather, jobs across several sectors happen to be lost and also the country’s powerhouse financial services industry has witnessed a steady flow of bankers shifted in the City in to the EU, costing the Treasury millions in lost tax receipts.

Frankfurt is proving itself to be the primary beneficiary of the publish-Brexit jobs boom, securing commitments from numerous worldwide banks, including Standard Chartered, because the referendum this past year.

Citigroup has additionally notified its bankers of intends to bolster its Frankfurt office, creating 150 jobs, as the Press Association understands Morgan Stanley is on the right track to maneuver as much as 200 staff.

Mizuho will enroll in a raft of Japanese banks who’ve selected the German financial center being an EU hub, including Daiwa, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) and Nomura.

Germany’s own Deutsche Bank notified staff in This summer it had become prone to book the “vast majority” of their assets from Frankfurt – where its headquarters are based – following the United kingdom leaves the EU.

That’s additionally to JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, which are going to bolster operations in a variety of EU metropolitan areas including Frankfurt.

The London exodus is on the right track to bring back the German financial sector, which in the finish of 2016 taken into account around 13% from the local Frankfurt work market when compared with 15% in 2008.

“Adding 10,000 jobs to the loan industry means a considerable shift into this sector,” the report by Frankfurt Primary Finance described.

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Strong eurozone data drags pound to fresh eight-year low against the euro; ad giant WPP weighs on FTSE 100

Market report

Investors slammed the brakes on rising risk appetite yesterday as US president Donald Trump’s threat in front of a raucous rally of grassroots supporters to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement and shutdown the government to secure funding for his Mexican wall pulled down stock markets.

The Dow Jones retreated into the red once again just a day after investors in the US cheered reports that a breakthrough had been made in tax reform talks between the president’s close team and Republican congressional figureheads.

In Europe, the imminence of the Jackson Hole central banking conference kept traders sitting on their hands and, with ECB president Mario Draghi’s speech in Lindau, Germany, yesterday offering up few clues to the markets, it was left to Mr Trump to swing market sentiment.

In the aftermath of Mr Trump’s speech, the dollar’s fresh weakness against the euro compounded on the sapping market sentiment to send big European exporters sliding with the DAX closing 0.3pc down and CAC 40 slipping 0.5pc. Meanwhile in London, the pound’s persistent softness salvaged the FTSE 100, which closed flat, rising 0.91 points at 7382.65.

Healthcare giants were the biggest beneficiaries from the renewed tax reform hopes hinting that Mr Trump could push through some of his agenda. Troubled pharma firm AstraZeneca nudged up 61p to £44.95 while blue-chip rival GlaxoSmithKline gained 13p to £15.17.

Fallout from Tuesday’s earnings continued to stoke movement with Provident Financial nosediving a further 8.4pc in intraday trade before reversing its losses to finish the top gainer on the blue-chip index. Analysts piled in on the doorstep seller’s catastrophic 66pc slide following its interim results on Tuesday with Liberum warning that the “pain is not over” and Barclays and JP Morgan downgrading the company.

Despite being bombarded by a wave of grim broker notes, Provident rallied to finish 71.5p higher at 661p.

Advertising giant WPP weighed heaviest on the UK’s benchmark index, diving 174p to £14.20, an 11pc fall, after a tough second quarter pulled down its sales growth forecast. Concerns that WPP’s difficulties were indicative of the sector meant ad-reliant broadcaster ITV slumped 3.1p at 162.6p.

Elsewhere on the FTSE 250, Meggitt climbed 12.5p to 510p after Jefferies upgraded the technology group once stalked by activist investor Elliott Advisors to “buy”, arguing that the fruits of the company’s turnaround should be apparent within a year.

Although its “rejuvenation has taken a lot more than a good night’s sleep” and will not be complete for years, the company will start to see revenue gain momentum from the second half of 2017, it told clients.

5:49PM

Markets wrap: Trump threats pull down market sentiment

The Dow Jones has nudged down into the red following Mr Trump’s speech to supporters

US president Donald Trump’s threat to end the North American Free Trade Agreement and cause a government shutdown to secure funding for his wall on the Mexican border has pulled down investor sentiment on the markets today.

After rallying strongly on tax reform hopes yesterday, the major US indices have slipped back into the red following Mr Trump’s speech in front of a crowd of grassroots supporters in Arizona last night.

On the FTSE 100, advertising giant WPP’s 11pc fall after it slashed its full-year sales growth forecast after a tough second quarter almost single-handedly stopped the index from breaking beyond flat territory with it closing just 0.91 point higher at 7382.65. Stock indices in Europe fared worse with the DAX retreating 0.5pc and the CAC 40 falling 0.3pc.

Doorstep lender Provident Financial rebounded from yesterday’s colossal fall to finish 12pc higher while NMC Health finished the top FTSE 250 riser after reporting a 34pc revenue increase.

Meanwhile on the currency markets, the pound drifted downwards to an eight-year low against the euro after a strong set of eurozone PMI readings indicated that growth in the region remains impressive.

Here’s IG market analyst Joshua Mahony’s take on today’s play:

“US markets are following their European markets lower today, with Trump once again proving himself to be the number one source of unpredictable volatility.

“The risk of a government shutdown appeared to have lessened when we saw Steve Bannon leave the White House, yet Trump’s confrontational stance appears to be alive and kicking given his announcement that he would be willing to cause a shutdown unless he receives funding for a wall.”

4:50PM

FTSE 100 stagnates in flat territory while Europe and US retreat into the red

The FTSE 100 has inched up 0.01pc today

Markets in Europe are now closed and the FTSE 100 has comfortably outperformed its European counterparts despite closing in flat territory, just 0.01pc higher.

US stocks have continued to struggle this afternoon with the Dow Jones stabilising at around 0.2pc down for the session. We’ll provide a summary of today’s events and the market report shortly…

4:23PM

First time buyers snap up properties in affordable Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland   

New homeowners are driving the buoyant housing markets in Scotland, Wale and Northern Ireland, taking advantage of low interest rates to get onto the ladder.

Growth rates in those areas are twice as high as those in London in the second quarter of 2017 as young would-be owners struggle to pay the larger sums needed to purchase property in the capital.

First-time buyer numbers grew by 29pc in Scotland in the quarter, 26pc in Wales and 15pc in Northern Ireland, compared with only 8pc in London, according to figures from UK Finance, the new industry group that replaced organisations including the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Read Tim Wallace’s full report here

3:59PM

China’s Great Wall reverses away from potential purchase of Jeep from Fiat Chrysler

Jeep had been focus of Great Wall’s interest in Fiat Chrysler

Speculation that Great Wall Motor Company will attempt to buy Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep marque has been dampened down by the Chinese automotive business.

In a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange, Great Wall said it had not held any talks with FCA, adding that its approaches had “not generated concrete progress as of now”.

Just one day after the company said “there is an intention to make the purchase”, Great Wall rowed back, noting there were “big uncertainties” surrounding any potential deal.

FCA shares have been driven up more than 10pc over the past fortnight to €11.50 as dealers responded to rumours that part of the business could be sold. Attempts were made to identify the potential buyer before Great Wall outed itself on Monday.

Read Alan Tovey’s full report here

3:40PM

Mixed set of US data shows house market slowing but sharp rise in business activity 

Overall private sector activity grew at its fastest rate since May 2015

The US private sector experienced a sharp increase in business activity in August despite a slowdown in the manufacturing industry, IHS Markit’s composite PMI survey showed this afternoon.

A sharp uptick in the services figure helped buoy the overall figure to 56.9 in August from 54.7 the previous month, the fastest growth of overall activity since May 2015.

IHS Markit’s director Rob Dobson said this on the latest figures:

“The US economic growth story remained a tale of two sectors in August. The overall rate of expansion accelerated to a 27-month record, driven higher by strong and improved growth of business activity in the vast services economy.

“In contrast, the performance of manufacturing remained sluggish in comparison, with production volumes rising to the weakest extent in over a year. “Nonetheless, the acceleration signalled for the economy as a whole suggests that GDP growth is still gaining momentum during the third quarter.”

Meanwhile in the other major economics release, new house sales in the US stuttered in July, dipping far below expectations. While economists expected sales to drop to 610,000, the figures showed a sharper slowdown at 571,000 sales, a 9.4pc retreat from June’s number.

The data hasn’t done much for the pound’s performance against the dollar today. Sterling has stabilised at $1.2795 against the greenback this afternoon.

3:20PM

Enquest hit by delays at North Sea oil project

Enquest shares plunged 10pc after it revealed trouble with its Kraken oil field

North Sea oil company Enquest has taken a 10pc blow to its market value after telling investors that delays to a cornerstone project have cut into to its production for this year.

The heavily indebted independent was relying on oil flows from the Kraken project to bring in a $700m (£546m) a year boom to help erode its £1.5bn of debt after a major financial restructuring last year.

But the oil minnow’s latest trading update revealed that Kraken, which began production earlier this year, has failed to reach its full production rate and could drag the average rate for this year down by almost a quarter.

In addition lower global oil prices could wipe a further 10pc from the project’s revenues.

The group’s shares plunged over 10pc to 29p, its lowest ebb since last November.

Read Jillian Ambrose’s full report here

2:58PM

US indices dip into the red following Trump speech on NAFTA 

Trump threatens to 'shut down government' to build Mexico wallTrump threatens to ‘shut down government’ to build Mexico wall 00:57

The Dow Jones and co have slumped following the opening bell in New York as investor sentiment weakens once again on the latest pledge from Donald Trump.

After provoking a global sell-off a few weeks ago after he ratcheted up tensions with North Korea, Mr Trump has pulled equities back into the red following a speech in Arizona, in which he threatened to end the North American Free Trade Agreement and shut down the government in order to secure funding for his border wall with Mexico.

The Dow Jones, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have dropped 0.3p early on.

2:25PM

US markets preview

The Dow Jones is expected to open lower this afternoon

The major US stock indices rallied strongly yesterday with the benchmark Dow Jones jumping just under 1pc despite Donald Trump sending a mix of sentiment-driving messages to the markets.

Investors cheered reports that the president’s team and senior Republican figures had made big steps forward on tax reform talks but his latest appeal to grass root supporters, which has included threats to end the North American Free Trade Agreement and shutdown the government to get funding for his wall on the Mexican border, has soured the mood a little. As a result, the Dow is expected to nudge a little lower when it opens.

Here’s IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp’s take on how the markets might interpret goings-on at the White House:

“Yesterday the headlines were all about how presidential Mr Trump had suddenly become, as he announced a continuation and expansion of the US commitment to Afghanistan. However, last night in Phoenix, we had a return to the Trump we became used to on the campaign trail.

“Evidently he feels the need to shore up his support base, and the warning about provoking a government shutdown in order to advance the Mexican wall has undercut the soothing tone put forth by Mitch McConnell yesterday. Plus there’s his warning about ‘terminating’ NAFTA. Hopes for calm look to have been dashed once more. “

Of the US economics releases this afternoon, PMI figures due at 14.45pm and new home sales data scheduled for release just a quarter of an hour later will be the main catalysts on the currency markets.

2:01PM

BHP Billiton unveils board shake-up as two directors depart

Former Ford boss Jac Nasser is standing down as BHP chair

The world’s largest mining company is to shake up its board after two directors announced they would be stepping down – one after just six months.

BHP Billiton said that Grant King, former chief executive of Australian firm Origin Energy, would not be seeking re-election at its AGMs later this year “owing to concerns expressed by some investors”.

Mr King, who had been considered a front runner to replace outgoing chair Jac Nasser, led Origin for 16 years until 2016. At the time of his appointment in February, Mr Nasser said the move “reflected the board’s commitment to a structured and rigorous approach to board succession and planning”.

Read Jon Yeomans’ full report here

1:46PM

Bupa sells 122 care homes for £300m

HC-One becomes the biggest UK operator of residential homes through the deal

HC-One has completed the £300m acquisition of 122 care homes from Bupa, in a deal that makes it the biggest UK operator of residential homes.

HC-One, formed out of the collapse of Southern Cross six years ago and run by chairman and former NHS doctor Chai Patel, will expand to around 350 homes with 22,000 care beds through the deal.

It has been expanding since being acquired by investors Court Cavendish, Formation Capital and Safanad in 2014.

Over the last three years it has already bought a total of 50 homes from care providers Meridan and Helen McArdle Care.

Read Iain Withers’ full report here

1:27PM

How low can the pound go against the euro?

Sterling has slipped to its lowest level against the euro in eight years but many will be wondering how low can it go? Parity?

Not much further, according to Dean Turner at UBS Wealth Management.

Here’s his prognosis on what he deems an “extremely undervalued” currency:

“I am often asked how much further the pound can fall. “Don’t fight the tape” is a phrase that springs to mind. Nonetheless, sterling looks extremely undervalued on most measures. Brexit will change the UK’s current trade relationship with the EU, but everything has its price.

“Indicators for the manufacturing sector show that the weaker currency is boosting export demand. It should also make the UK a relatively attractive place for foreign companies to invest. Political noise ebbs and flows and, with it, exchange rates. Eventually, economic fundamentals assert themselves, and they suggest that the pound’s journey south against the euro is probably closer to the end than the beginning.”

The reaction on the currency markets to Mario Draghi’s speech at the Jackson Hole conference on Friday will be when we likely find out if the pound has bottomed out against its European counterpart. 

1:14PM

From Tarot readings to cryotherapy: How retailers are trying to lure you into their stores

From Tarot readings to cryotherapy: How retailers are trying to lure you into their stores

There has been a general shift in consumer spending over the past few years away from “things” to experiences. To cater for this, British retailers are increasingly introducing fun and unusual services to encourage new customers through their doors, and to keep the ones they have inside longer and spending more money.

Sophie Christie takes a look at the strangest ways retailers try to lure you in.

12:35PM

Lunchtime update: Advertising giant WPP weighs heavily on the FTSE 100

WPP is the sharpest faller on the FTSE 100, which is treading water in flat territory

The FTSE 100 is treading water in flat territory today with advertising giant WPP’s 11pc plunge after it slashed its full-year sales growth forecast almost single-handedly holding back the blue-chip index.

A stronger euro is weighing on equities on the continent while renewed tax reform hopes in the US and president Donald Trump’s threat to end the North American Free Trade Agreement and shut down the government to get funding for his Mexican wall is pulling investor sentiment in different directions.

On the currency markets, the pound has slipped to a fresh eight-year low against the euro this morning after strong eurozone PMI readings indicated that robust growth in the region will continue. Meanwhile against the dollar, the pound has just touched back over $1.28 following a morning dip blamed on persistent Brexit fears.

Henry Croft, research analyst at Accendo Markets, provided this analysis of today’s markets:

“Global equities are marginally lower heading into this afternoon as macroeconomic data and corporate results drive market sentiment. Strong Manufacturing PMI readings from Western Europe – including the headline economic area’s print – have awoken Euro bulls after this week’s sell-off, consequently clipping the US dollar’s wings.

“As a result, the German DAX’s numerous exporters are holding back the index, while the FTSE is being dragged lower as yet another stock suffers severely after a corporate update. “

Here’s the current state of play in Europe: 

FTSE 100: -0.01pc

DAX: -0.07pc

CAC 40: -0.02pc

IBEX: -0.48pc

12:17PM

Mario Draghi speech swerves monetary policy to frustrate traders

US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and ECB president Mario Draghi will give speeches at Jackson Hole on Friday

Mario Draghi didn’t give much away in this morning’s speech ahead of his much anticipated appearance at the Jackson Hole central banking conference. Traders will be waiting a little longer for some ECB monetary policy clues but here are some of the best parts picked out by Bloomberg from today’s appearance:

In a speech that avoided any specific signals on the European Central Bank’s current deliberations, the institution’s president said officials must be “unencumbered by the defense of previously held paradigms that have lost any explanatory power.” 

“When the world changes as it did ten years ago, policies, especially monetary policy, need to be adjusted,” he said in a prepared text. He then added in an unscripted remark that “that’s obvious for most people, but not for everybody.”

Here’s what he had to say about quantitative easing:

“My view is that the unconventional actions that the Federal Reserve took in the early stages of the crisis were extremely effective as a major lender of last resort,” he said in a Bloomberg TV interview with Francine Lacqua.

“The subsequent quantitative easing I don’t think was harmful, I think it may have been somewhat helpful, but I don’t think it’s been a major powerful instrument of monetary policy.”

“You need serious conceptual analysis and base policy on that, not on prejudice, or — even worse — on moral grounds,” he told reporters after his speech. “Some people say ‘Oh, QE is immoral, because it creates money out of nothing.”

On the markets traders are “sitting on their hands” ahead of the big speeches at Jackson Hole on Friday, according to CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

Mr Madden commented:

“Equity markets in Europe are broadly unchanged this morning after a strong finish in the US last night. The buying momentum that we saw in Europe yesterday has dissipated, and traders are looking ahead to the Jackson Hole symposium which kicks off tomorrow.

“The President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, didn’t give much away during his speech this morning. Mr Draghi talked about the recovery in the region, but he didn’t drop any clues about what lies ahead for monetary policy. We will have to have wait for his speech at the Jackson Hole symposium.”

11:43AM

Game Digital shares rocket on better than expected trading

Game issued a profit warning earlier this year

Shares in video game retailer Game Digital soared by more than 35pc in early trading as the company revealed better-than-expected sales and hinted it may offload the digital branch of gaming events division Multiplay.

Sales in the second half of the financial year grew by 9pc in the UK and 26pc in Spain as the company was boosted by the popularity of the Nintendo Switch console. However, full-year sales in the UK were still down by 7pc.

In a strategic update, Game said it was further prioritising its e-sport activities following a review, and “evaluating strategic options” for its Multiplay Digital division, which hosts servers for gaming.

The suggestion that it may sell the division has helped send shares soaring, with Liberum analyst Adam Tomlinson saying it would be a “sensible” move.

Read Sam Dean’s full report here

11:30AM

FTSE stuck in flat territory; WPP-related ad concerns pull down ITV

Concerns about advertising revenues following WPP’s figures has pulled down ITV this morning

It’s about time we had a quick sitrep on the other big movers in London this morning. Other than WPP’s fall, movement on the FTSE 100 has been fairly muted with the overall index stuck in flat territory.

The concerning advertising figures coming out of WPP have pulled down ad-reliant broadcaster ITV while the housebuilders have retreated from yesterday’s highs inspired by Persimmon’s strong figures.

At the other end, Big Four supermarket Tesco’s strong performance in yesterday’s Kantar Worldpanel sales figures and the opening of a compensation scheme for 10,000 shareholders who were misled by the company overstating its profits in 2014 has lifted it 1.9pc.

Meanwhile on the FTSE 250, NMC Health has risen 4.7pc on its latest earnings and engineering group Meggitt has popped 3.7pc thanks to a broker upgrade from Jefferies.

10:59AM

WPP 12pc slide reaction: Cut sales forecast could be the sign of a trend

WPP’s chief executive Martin Sorrell

Advertising giant WPP is still marooned at the bottom of the FTSE 100 after sliding 12pc on its disappointing interim results this morning and now the analysts are giving their two cents on the plunge.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, pointed out that WPP is seen as a bellwether for the global economy and that “the news sounds a warning about growth in developed markets, putting a significant dent in the bullish case for stocks”.

WPP’s woes could continue, according to CMC Markets analyst David Madden:

“The advertising giant cited falling demand from its clients as a reason for the reduced revenue forecast. This is the second time the sale forecast has been trimmed this year, and that is a warning sign to traders, as it could be the start of a trend.

“In 2017, the share price has created a series of lower lows and lower highs, which is a worrying sign.”

 Investec’s Steve Liechti gave this summary of the results: 

“Not a complete surprise given peer trading/commentary, but first half like-for-like figures are poor, with the second quarter below forecast and July down also.”

The Twitterati has been incredibly sympathetic as always…

10:31AM

Laura Ashley sales drop as weak pound causes profit plunge

Laura Ashley issued a profit warning earlier this month

Profits at Laura Ashley plummeted by more than 70pc as the retailer blamed the weakness of sterling for its troubles and scrapped its dividend.

In results posted a week after it issued a stark profit warning, Laura Ashley said profits before tax had fallen from £22.8m to £6.3m in the full year, a fall of 72pc. However, the comparable period for the previous financial year was 74 weeks.

On a like-for-like basis, the company’s retail sales were down 3.1pc. It will not recommend a final dividend.

Laura Ashley said its sales were affected by the closure of 22 concessions in Homebase following the takeover of the DIY chain by Australia’s Wesfarmers group.

Shares have retreated 4.1pc this morning.

Read Sam Dean’s full report here

10:23AM

Pound slides 0.5pc against the euro to a fresh eight-year low

The pound hit its lowest level against the euro at the end of 2008

Despite the tight-lipped Draghi speech in Germany, the pound has had a really poor morning against the euro. It has fallen 0.5pc to €1.0858, an eight-year low.

There has been a lot of talk following the EU referendum of the pound reaching parity with the euro but we’ve come closer before. In December 2008 the pound dropped to €1.0201 against euro and had recovered to above €1.40 only by 2015.

Mario Draghi signalling soon the tightening of monetary policy could tip the balance in the euro’s favour but one has to also assume that the very strong economics data coming out of the eurozone of late will slow at some point.

Pantheon Macro believes that there has been “excessive optimism” over the recovery:

“The main driver of the depreciation has been a huge shift in sentiment in favour of the eurozone, as the region’s recovery finally has gathered pace.

“Eurozone GDP rose by 0.5% and 0.6% quarter- on-quarter in Q1 and Q2, respectively, virtually guaranteeing that year-over-year growth will exceed 2% this year for the first time since 2010. Investors now are overwhelmingly net long the euro, following several years of shorting it,

10:09AM

Eurozone PMI reaction: Slight fall in momentum due in third quarter

The PMI figure has been too optimistic in recent quarters, says Pantheon Macro

Strong manufacturing did the heavy lifting in this morning’s robust eurozone PMI figures but a dip in the third quarter reading will indicate a slightly slowing region, according to Pantheon Macro.

Its eurozone economist Claus Vistesen commented:

“Overall, we think the EZ composite PMI probably will fall slightly in Q3 compared with Q2, signalling a modest loss of momentum following the brisk pace in the first half of the year.

“But it does not change the main message from the survey that GDP growth in the euro area will stay resilient in the near term.”

9:53AM

ECB’s Draghi gives little away ahead of Jackson Hole; pound slips below $1.28 against the dollar

Mario Draghi could signal a shift in policy at the Jackson Hole conference this weekend

ECB president Mario Draghi gave little away over the central bank’s next steps regarding monetary policy in his speech in Lindau, Germany, this morning.

Traders were hoping for small clues on when the ECB might taper its quantitative easing programme ahead of the Jackson Hole conference this weekend.

Mr Draghi was originally expected to indicate a change in policy at Jackson Hole from the ECB’s €60bn-a-month bond buying programme but reports surfaced last week that he would remain tight-lipped. There are fears that a surge in the euro if Mr Draghi signalled the tightening of monetary policy would weigh on inflation and actually slow down the the ECB’s normalisation plans.

Elsewhere on the currency markets, the pound has slipped below $1.28 against the dollar for the first time since the end of June with the usual Brexit-related fears pinned on today’s slide.

9:29AM

WPP drags on FTSE 100; UK division a bright spot in its figures

The FTSE 100 has recovered to flat territory following this morning’s dip but advertising giant WPP’s 10pc fall is almost single-handedly stopping the index from advancing.

Investors are punishing the company for slashing its sales growth forecast on a tougher second quarter with July’s like-for-like revenue growth falling to -4.1pc.

Although WPP has pinned part of the blame on rising populism in places such as the UK, its division here was one of the few regions, along with Latin American and Central and Eastern Europe, where revenue actually held up. 

Spreadex analyst Connor Cambpell commented that the company is now on course for its worse year since the 2009 “ad recession”.

He said:

“Much of that drag came from Martin Sorrell’s WPP, which plunged 8% this Wednesday after the advertising giant was forced to cut its full year forecasts. The firm now expects annual revenue and net sales growth of between zero and 1%, down from the 2% stated in March (and the 3% suggested before that), leaving it on track for its worse year since the 2009 ad recession.

“That’s because reduced client spending, itself thanks to macro-economic uncertainty, meant net sales in the first half of 2017 fell by 0.5%, far worse than the 0.6% to 0.7% growth anticipated by analysts, including an especially alarming 1.7% drop in Q2 net sales.”

9:13AM

Eurozone PMI figures indicate strong momentum in the currency bloc

Eurozone PMI figures indicate continued strong momentum in the region

The eurozone’s composite PMI beat expectations to nudge up slightly to 55.8 in August, according to figures from IHS Markit, indicating that the currency bloc’s strong momentum hasn’t let up.

Although growth in the services sector cooled, a rise in the manufacturing reading offset the small services dip with new orders exports rising at its fastest in six-and-a-half years helping to lift the figures.

Earlier, stronger-than-expected German and French PMI figures gave a hint that the region’s composite reading would come in stronger with the French figures almost exactly mirroring the currency bloc’s overall trend.

Here’s what IHS Markit’s associate director Andrew Harker had to say on the figures:

“The latest PMI readings for the eurozone signal a continuation of the recent strong performance of the currency bloc’s economy. This stabilisation in the rate of expansion is pleasing, following signs of growth easing in recent months.

“The survey data over the first two months of the quarter are consistent with only a fractional easing in the rate of growth of GDP from the 0.6% rise in Q2.

“Overall, this is another positive set of numbers for the euro area, which continues to enjoy its best growth spell for a number of years.”

Since the PMI figures started to trickle through and ECB president Mario Draghi started speaking, the pound has dropped to €1.0876, down 0.4pc for the day.

8:53AM

WPP dives 11pc on FTSE 100; blames ‘rising social, political and economic volatility’

WPP’s sales growth was now expected to be between 0-1pc

Advertising giant WPP has dived nearly 11pc this morning after revealing that a tough second quarter will hold back its growth this year. 

Sales growth was now expected to be between 0-1pc, down from forecasts of 2pc.

The company said that the “increasing social, political and economic volatility” and the “rise in populism” meant that “growth has become even more difficult to find”.

It said: “The group’s performance in the first seven months of the new financial year has been much tougher, as worldwide GDP growth, both nominal and real, seems to have slowed in the second half of last year and into the new year.”

Here’s what Hargreaves Landsdown select funds manager Steve Clayton’s take on WPP’s interim results this morning:

“Life is getting tougher in the media world, with WPP experiencing a slowdown in trading in June and July, spread across much of the world and in many different media sectors.

“Forecasts will inevitably be trimmed to reflect the new guidance but we don’t expect to see the numbers move by much overall. It is hard going for all players in media-land at the moment; clients are keeping a tight lid on spending and procurement departments are ruthless in the way they push agencies to lower prices.”

8:33AM

Agenda: Rising risk appetite halted by Trump’s threat to NAFTA; WPP dives on FTSE 100

Concerns that Mr Trump will try and end the North American Free Trade Agreement put the brakes on rising investor sentiment

Trump giveth and Trump taketh away. Overnight, US president Donald Trump’s scattergun approach caught the markets in two minds as renewed hopes that he can push through tax reforms lifted equities but his threat to end the North American Free Trade Agreement and shut down the US government if he does not receive funding for his wall along the Mexican border put the brakes on the rising risk appetite.

That stopped the pound drifting any lower against the dollar but it still remains stuck at $1.2820 with a dearth of UK economics data available to change the momentum. Sterling might have better luck against the euro with PMI figures from the eurozone due and ECB president Mario Draghi speaking this morning. The pound has slipped to an eight-year low against the euro this week.

After yesterday’s strong gains, the FTSE 100 has retreated into the red once again, nudging down 0.1pc early on. Advertising giant WPP is this morning biggest laggard, diving 8.7pc, after cutting its growth forecast.

Interim results: Hansteen Holdings, WPP Group, Carillion, Vedanta Resources

AGM: Independent News & Media, Doriemus, Triad Group

Economics: Flash PMI (EU), New home sales (US)