UK, US and Europe: The UK's competition regulator has blocked the Sainsbury's/Asda merger, meaning UK supermarket shares will be in focus today. In addition, we have earnings from Barclays, followed up by US durable goods orders and initial jobless claims. Amazon, Intel, Ford and American Airlines all publish their earnings in the US today.
South Africa: While US index Futures point to a marginal rebound this morning, most Asian equity markets trade lower with a tech sector led decline. The Bank of Japan has kept lending rates unchanged and has told markets that it intends to keep rates accommodative until at least 2020. Precious metals trade modestly higher this morning, while base metals trade mostly higher as well, led by gains in copper. The rand has firmed slightly, although remains at its lowest levels of the last few weeks. Tencent Holdings is down 1.75% in Asia, suggestive of a similar start for major holding company Naspers.
Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT)
1.30pm – US durable goods orders (March): expected to rise 0.4% overall MoM, and 0.2% MoM excluding transportation orders. Markets to watch: US indices, USD crosses
Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar
Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades
Sainsbury’s said that it had agreed with Asda to abandon its proposed merger, after the CMA said that prices would increase in the wake of the tie-up. Barclays saw pre-tax profit fall to £1.5 billion for the first quarter, from £1.7 billion a year earlier. The corporate and investment bank saw income fall 11%, while the tier one capital ratio fell from 13.2% to 13%. RBS siad that CEO Ross McEwan had resigned, although he will remain in place until a successor is found. Taylor Wimpey has made a good start to the year, although it has seen an increase in build cost pressures. Average private sales for the year so far were 1.03 per outlet per week, compared to 0.85 a year earlier. Adecco upgraded to outperform at MainFirst
Novartis upgraded to buy at Liberum
Nordic Semiconductor raised to neutral at SpareBank
Barratt cut to sell at Shore Capital
Taylor Wimpey cut to sell at Shore Capital
Julius Baer downgraded to neutral at Citi
Persimmon downgraded to hold at Shore Capital
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