European markets are nudging lower ahead of the key meeting between the US and Chinese presidents at the G20 this weekend. At this stage there seems to be little hope that even this high level meeting will lead to a resolution of the trade dispute, the best investors are currently hoping for is a restart of the abandoned trade talks.
In London supermarket shares are under pressure after research agency Kantor released the latest six-week sales numbers from UK grocers showing that sales growth at Tesco came to a standstill while sales at the others declined between 0.1 and 0.6% as the wet weather hampered sales of seasonal products. Home improvement also followed the trend as their sales are likely to show similar numbers.
Pound stronger but path ahead looks rocky
The pound is a touch stronger against the dollar and the euro, however, the options markets are starting to price in a bigger decline against the euro over the coming months. The main worry is that if the Bank of England really goes ahead and increases interest rates sooner rather than later – as it has recently indicated – it will hit the economy which is already teetering closer and closer to recession.
Tensions in the Gulf are continuing to ratchet up bit by bit, the latest being President Trump’s new sanctions against Iran’s top officials and the country’s supreme leader. Oil prices are 0.14% lower this morning as investors took some profits off the table, but overall oil is still trading comfortably higher than before the tanker attacks in the Strait of Hormuz.