US factory production suffers biggest fall in a century

Good morning. European stocks are set to open marginally in the green as Chinese industrial production showed signs of improvement in April, though retail sales data disappointed after a rocky week 

The FTSE 100 fell 2.75pc to a three-week low on Thursday, while Wall Street stocks finished higher as beaten-down banking shares rallied despite another spike in jobless claims.

5 things to start your day 

1) A flagship Nissan plant in Sunderland could be used to make Renault vehicles as part of a deal between the two car-making behemoths – boosting to the fortunes of thousands of British workers. The two companies have opened talks to transfer production of the Renault Kadjar and Captur models from Spain to the North-East as part of a shake-up.

2) Covid borrowing to hit £300bn as pressure rises on pensions triple lock: The surging cost of the Chancellor’s life support schemes for jobs and businesses will send Britain’s national debt rocketing to levels not seen for decades, according to the warning from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

3) British cannabis farm sold for £66m: Bridge Farm, a Lincolnshire-based agricultural company, has been acquired by Artemis Growth Partners for about $81m (£66m), The Telegraph can reveal. The move comes as some advocates for the drug suggest that the Covid-19 crisis could in fact accelerate the move towards legalisation in the UK. 

4) BT could sell stake in Openreach: Selling a stake in the subsidiary that runs Britain’s broadband network would help fund a upgrade to ultrafast fibre to millions of homes  

5) A robotics firm is poised to launch new technology to help staff social-distance in the workplace as industries are gradually freed from the Covid-19 lockdown. Blyth-based Tharsus has been developing its Bump alert system since the early stages of the crisis, as revealed by the Telegraph last month.

What happened overnight 

China’s industrial output rose 3.9pc in April from a year earlier, official data showed on Friday, expanding for the first time this year as the world’s second-largest economy slowly emerges from its coronavirus lockdown. However, retail sales fell by more than expected, dropping 7.5pc.

In the markets, Hong Kong dropped 0.5pc, extending its losing streak to a fourth day, while Tokyo ended the morning 0.3pc lower and Shanghai dipped 0.2pc. Seoul, Wellington, Taipei, Jakarta and Manila were also lower, though Sydney climbed slightly.

Coming up today

Full-year results: William Hill

Trading statement: Signature Aviation

Economics: Industrial production (China), preliminary GDP for Q1 (eurozone, Germany), retail sales, industrial production, consumer sentiment, Empire State manufacturing survey (US)

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