As the rich and influential head to the World Economic Forum in Davos, our head of investment rounds up the big news moving markets and share prices today.
World leaders are heading to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland with plenty to discuss including the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and interest rates, the global economic slowdown and climate change. Focus this week is also on China’s GDP figures, UK unemployment and inflation data as well as US earnings season.
Gold hit a nine-month high as US dollar weakness and its safe-haven properties drive investors towards the precious metal.
UK asking prices have risen for the first time in two months as pressures from former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ disastrous mini-budget lessen. According to Rightmove (LSE:RMV), residential asking prices rose by 0.9% between 4 December and 7 January but remain 2% below their October 2022 high.
The cost-of-living crisis, a slowing UK economy and rising mortgage rates have dampened housing demand lately. Yet there appears to be a new year boost as asking prices pick up at the turn of the year and the spike in fixed-rate mortgage rates eases off. However it still looks like the housing market is set to soften this year, as potential buyers hold off in anticipation of a further fall in prices and a reduction in mortgage rates later this year. Preventing an even steeper slide is the chronic shortage of housing supply in the UK which remains a long-term challenge.
Last week, UK housebuilders were in the limelight with updates from Barratt Developments (LSE:BDEV), Taylor Wimpey (LSE:TW.) and Persimmon (LSE:PSN). All three reported weaker order books while Barratts and Taylor Wimpey flagged weakness in the housing market. To offset this, Barratts brought about a hiring freeze, Taylor Wimpey said its mulling job cuts and Persimmon offered new customers a 10-month mortgage free deal.
MARKS & SPENCER
Marks & Spencer Group (LSE:MKS) is planning to open 20 new stores, creating 3,400 jobs in Britain according to the Times newspaper. There will be eight ‘full line’ stores and 12 food halls across the UK, which ‘fits into the levelling-up agenda’ according to CEO Stuart Machin. It comes after M&S reported a bumper Christmas period in clothing and home as well as food during the first festive season without any covid restrictions for the first time since before the pandemic. However cost pressures and macroeconomic headwinds continue to be key challenges for the high street retailer in 2023. Shares in M&S have shed around a third of their value over a one-year period.
JUST EAT TAKEAWAY.COM
Just Eat Takeaway.com NV (LSE:JET) and Sainsbury (J) (LSE:SBRY) have partnered up for grocery deliveries in the UK. The tie-up with launch with over 175 Sainsbury’s stores by the end of February including in London, Edinburgh, and Bristol. The plan is to roll out stores across many more cities later in the year.
Just Eat Takeaway already has partnerships with Asda, Booker, owned by Tesco (LSE:TSCO) and Co-op in the supermarket space, with Sainsbury’s adding to its extensive grocery offering. Groceries have often been described as a key growth frontier for takeaway delivery apps, however it is an intensely competitive space particularly with the arrival of q-commerce players like Getir and Gopuff which claim to deliver within minutes around the clock.
Just Eat shares have struggled over the last year, shedding around 45%, weighed down the end of the pandemic boom in online deliveries and the cost-of-living crisis which have negatively impacted demand across Europe as individuals and households look for ways to cut costs.
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