On the markets, the FTSE 100 index opened a bit lower. It was down 0.1% at 7,005. Germany’s Dax was down a similar amount while France’s CAC was flat and Italy’s borsa lost 0.4%.
The pound continues to rally, rising 0.7% to $1.1546. It’s back to how it was before Liz Truss’ disastrous mini-budget on September 23. Against the euro, the pound sterling gained 0.26% to €1.1540.
Britain’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is considering delaying the budget statement due next week to plug a £40billion gap in the country’s finances, The Times reported.
Sunak is expected to meet Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt today to discuss his proposals to raise taxes and cut public spending.
The declaration had been put forward by the Liz Truss government from November 23 due to market turbulence caused by the mini-budget of its chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. But it could even be pushed back and turned into a full budget, the newspaper reported.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said a short delay in the announcement would not be a bad thing. He told BBC radio 4’s Today programme:
What we want to do is make sure we get it right. If that means a short delay, to make sure we’re doing things right, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing at all.
Our economics editor Larry Elliott thinks the budget plan should be delayed.
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Heathrow warned that a cap on the number of passengers could be reintroduced on some of the busiest days to avoid travel chaos over Christmas.
Europe’s busiest airport has also admitted that it still lacks 25,000 staff to cope with peak-hour passenger numbers.
The airport operator, which is due to lift the current cap of 100,000 passengers per day introduced during the summer holiday travel chaos on October 29, said it was in talks with airlines on a ceiling on “peak days before Christmas”. He explained:
We are working with the airlines to agree a very targeted mechanism which, if necessary, would align supply and demand on a small number of peak days in the run up to Christmas. This would encourage demand towards less busy periods, protecting the heaviest peaks and avoiding flight cancellations due to pressure on resources.
Speaking on BBC 4 radio’s Today programme, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said:
We don’t want to have a cap at all, we want to get back to full capacity as soon as possible. The reason for a cap is to ensure that we maintain a balance between supply and demand. It was absolutely the right thing to do during the summer.
The summer was better than people expected. The service was much better than people expected, almost back to 2019 levels, based on the feedback people gave us. Passenger numbers were also better and we went from one of the quietest airports in Europe to the busiest airport in Europe. Unfortunately, we are still in the red, but hopefully if we can get the regulatory settlement right, that can change. But it hasn’t been easy, it has certainly been difficult.
A number of banks reported bumper profits for the three months to the end of September. Barclays made a pre-tax profit of £2bn for the third quarter, up 6% from a year earlier, when analysts had expected a drop to £1.8bn. German Bank, Germany’s largest bank, beat market expectations with a net profit of 1.1 billion euros in the third quarter. Based in London Standard charterwhich focuses on Asia, also reported better-than-expected earnings of $1.4 billion, up 40%.
Higher revenue helped offset the £381m Barclays had set aside to deal with possible defaults as it braced for a potential rise in bad debts as customers were struggling with skyrocketing food and energy bills. The bank said:
Payment defaults remained below historic levels and coverage levels were broadly maintained at portfolio level given an uncertain macroeconomic environment. Deteriorating macroeconomic forecasts have resulted in higher charges, partially offset by the consumption of post-economic uncertainty model adjustments, which were established in previous periods in anticipation of future deterioration, which is now captured in the modeled production.
Yesterday the FTSE 100 was hit by HSBC setting aside $1.1 billion to protect against possible defaults in the third quarter, more than expected.
Asian stock markets rose cautiously, with Japan’s Nikkei up 0.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 0.8%.
In the United States, the Nasdaq closed up 2.25% on Tuesday, despite disappointing figures from the owner of Google Alphabet. Revenues fell below analysts’ expectations in the third quarter as they continue to struggle an industry-wide technological slowdown.
Michael Hewson summarizes Tuesday’s action on Wall Street.
The Nasdaq 100 led last night’s gains for US stocks, with a third successive positive daily close, but there was still some trepidation surrounding the results of Microsoft and Alphabet, owner of Google, who both closed higher, not only on the slowdown we might see in their latest quarterly numbers, but also on the kind of outlook these two big tech giants would paint.
In any event, it was a mixed bag with Alphabet missing expectations, while Microsoft managed to outperform, but shares of both fell further after hours, although this weakness does not appear to be weighing on the market unduly. European opening today, due to strong gains in Asian markets.
Alphabet’s failure came as less of a surprise given the slowdown seen in Snap’s numbers last week, with failures across all of its core businesses.
10am BST: 7-year-old UK Treasury gilt auction
12pm BST: US MBA mortgage applications for the week of October 21
1.30pm BST: US trade for September
15:00 BST: Bank of Canada interest rate decision (forecast: 75bp hike to 4%)
3:00 p.m. BST: US new home sales for September