Good morning. The FTSE 100 is set to open firmly in the red amid a Reddit “revolution” in financial markets and a vaccine row which has the potential to unleash a major post-Brexit political row.
Keep an eye on Cineworld and Pearson at the open, both companies are two of the most-shorted stocks on the London market and soared yesterday as retail investors sought to ride the wave.
5 things to start your day
1) White House on alert as Reddit fever hits London market: Reddit users’ war on hedge funds gained Washington’s attention, while the squeeze on short-sellers sent prices some leading UK shares soaring.
2) Apple revenues surpass $100bn after record iPhone 12 launch: Apple reported record-breaking profits – the first time its sales crossed the $100bn mark in a single quarter on the back of the iPhone 12.
3) Car production plunges to lowest level since 1984: The near-30pc drop in output last year meant sales worth £10.5bn were lost, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
4) Pandemic costs hospitality sector £200m a day in lost sales: Hospitality sales plunged from £133bn in 2019 to just under £62bn a year later – equivalent to £8m an hour in lost sales.
5) Covid crisis puts streaming under the spotlight: Spotify reportedly pays a songwriter an average of 0.04p per stream, meaning it would take 175,000 streams for an artist to make £70.
What happened overnight
Global stocks fell back further from last week’s record amid disappointment over technology earnings and concern about valuations and the impact of frenzied retail trading in parts of the US market. The dollar rose.
Nasdaq 100 futures underperformed as results from the likes of Apple and Tesla sent shares sliding after market, while stocks in Hong Kong and Australia saw the bulk of Asian losses.
Earlier, the S&P 500 slumped 2.6pc – the most since October – after Federal Reserve officials left their main interest rate unchanged and made clear the central bank was nowhere near exiting massive support for the economy. Treasuries steadied, with 10-year yields at just over 1pc.
Coming up today
Corporate: Diageo (Interim results); 3i Group, Anglo American, Britvic, easyJet, Fevertree Drinks, Intermediate Capital Group, KAZ Minerals, Rank, St James’s Place, Tate & Lyle, Tritax Big Box REIT (Trading statements)
Economics: Business and consumer confidence (eurozone); unemployment (Spain); inflation (Germany); Q4 GDP, trade balance, jobless claims (US)