The week ahead
Tuesday looks to be the most interesting day this week for corporate announcements, with most attention likely to be focused on Sainsbury’s trading update on Tuesday. Reuters is also providing a trading update while Prudential will report its third-quarter new business figures. Elsewhere, Sage has a final trading update on Wednesday, Wm Morrison has interim earnings results on Thursday and AstraZeneca reports third-quarter earnings results.
Nasdaq: 1903 from 1920
US technology stocks were hit towards the end of last week as concerns mounted over downbeat economic news, disappointing quarterly earnings, the record high oil price and Intel cancelling plans to introduce its highest-speed Pentium 4 chip for desktop computers. This is the latest in a string of unexpected product changes, cancellations and recalls at the world’s largest computer chipmaker, and led to a fall of 2.3% in Intel’s share price on Thursday. SanDisk Corporation’s net income rose in the third quarter but profit per share and revenue fell short of Wall Street forecasts and shares fell 27.2% on Thursday. But Apple offered good news: its shares jumped 13.2% after it revealed earnings and revenue that exceeded expectations because of strong sales of iPod. S&P 500: 1103 from 1122
There was plenty of negative news around for the US market last week, leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average to ease back from 10,081.97 at the close of Monday to 9,894.45 at the close on Thursday – its lowest level since August 13. Bad news included disappointing quarterly earnings, continued high oil prices, concerns over job growth, the trade deficit reaching $54bn in August, the federal deficit hitting $413bn and then the revelation that New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer is suing the world’s largest insurance broker, Marsh & McLennan. Most of the week, however, continued to be dominated by concerns over the rise to a record price for oil of more than $53 a barrel. Investors were waiting for the latest data on retail sales and producer prices as well as a speech on Friday by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan to see the impact of the oil price. EUROPE
FTSE Eurofirst 300 Eurozone: 1042 from 1057
European shares reached two-week lows in trading on Friday. This followed the FTSE Eurofirst 300 index closing below the 1,000 level on Thursday for the first time since September 30. The decline on Friday was led by insurers as the sector was affected by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer’s lawsuit against Marsh & McLennan and concerns that European companies could be involved. Shares in Munich Re fell 5% in early trading while Zurich International and Swiss Re dropped 4%. Worries that the high oil price could squeeze consumer spending and corporate margins continued to dog the market. Third-quarter earnings saw mixed news last week. Retailer Carrefour had disappointing results but there was encouraging news from Nokia and food group Danone. UK
FTSE 100: 4623 from 4699
Having fallen by 1.5% from the start of the week to the close on Thursday, the FTSE 100 was set for a fifth consecutive daily decline on Friday. The end of the week was dominated by concerns about the lawsuit filed by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer against the world’s largest insurance broker, Marsh & McLennan. Among the largest fallers in early trading on Friday were brokers Jardine Lloyd and Benfield, as well as insurers such as Prudential, Royal & SunAlliance and Aviva. The FTSE 100 was not helped last week by the oil price reaching record levels and the Bank of England governor Mervyn King warning that interest rates were unlikely to have peaked at 4.75%. Manchester United shares fell on Thursday and Friday as talks between Malcolm Glazer and the Irish investors JP McManus and John Magnier collapsed. ASIA PACIFIC
FTSE Asia/Pacific ex Japan:
226.65 from 231.70
One of the main themes for Asian stockmarkets last week was the price of metals and oil. The sharp slide in global metal prices eased back share prices, particularly industrial and mining stocks. Trading on Friday was helped by a stabilisation in metal prices, with Hong Kong equities led higher by China commodity stocks. Samsung’s share price continued to fall last week. After declining 2.4% on October 8, the share price fell another 7.6% last week after the company announced a 14% quarter-on-quarter drop in profits. The shares continued to fall even though Samsung revealed that its quarterly profits jumped 46% from a year ago and its sales rose 27%. The Singapore market fell earlier in the week after it was announced that the economy shrank in the third quarter. JAPAN
Nikkei 225: 10983 from 11349
It was a poor week for the Japanese stockmarket as it recorded its sixth successive day of falls on Friday, with the Nikkei dropping 3.2%. Record high oil prices raised concerns over global economic growth. The fall was led by blue-chip companies such as Honda Motor and Sony. Exporters were affected not only by fears over a slowdown in global growth but also by the rise in the yen against the dollar in the middle of last week. There was a recovery towards the end of Friday trading as energy-related, metal and steel stocks such as Sumitomo Metal Mining gained ground after being hit on Thursday following the sharp fall in metal prices. Banks, however, were weak in Friday trading.