Interactive Investor

Must read: FTSE 100, BAT, Japanese stocks, global politics

15th May 2023 09:01

by Victoria Scholar from interactive investor

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Our head of investment rounds up the morning's big news.

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GLOBAL MARKETS 

European markets have opened higher, with the FTSE 100 heading back towards resistance at 7,800, extending gains after the UK index finished Friday in the green driven by healthcare and energy stocks. 

Global politics take centre stage, with an unclear election outcome so far in Turkey as President Erdogan attempts to cling to power. This is weighing on Turkey’s BIST 100 equity index. 

Meanwhile, Move Forward is faring better than expected in Thailand as the electorate votes for the opposition party in favour of radical reform, which is on track to beat the current military focussed government. Thailand’s SET index has been Asia’s worst performing market this year. 

Volodymyr Zelensky is set to meet UK Prime Minister Sunak today as part of the Ukrainian president’s European tour in his second visit to London this year. Zelensky tweeted: “The UK is a leader when it comes to expanding our capabilities on the ground and in the air. This cooperation will continue today. I will meet my friend Rishi. We will conduct substantive negotiations face-to-face and in delegations.”

US debt ceiling talks are due to restart on Tuesday as the 1 June deadline looms. There are growing hopes that the Democrats and Republicans will reach a deal to avert the disastrous scenario of a government default.

JAPANESE STOCKS 

The Nikkei has rallied to a fresh 18-month high, pushing above 29,600, with financials leading the gains. Better-than-expected producer price data which rose the least in 20 months, as well as stronger Japanese earnings and improved share buybacks, have supported its equity index. Plus, export stocks have benefitted from the yen’s weakness which hit a near record low against the Swiss franc over the weekend. 

The Nikkei 225 is up 15% year-to-date, with gains accelerating lately, having rallied almost 4% over the past month.

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO 

British American Tobacco (LSE:BATS) has appointed Tadeu Marroco as CEO to succeed Jack Bowles who is stepping down from the board of directors today. Marroco has been the group’s finance director since August 2019 and was previously director of group transformation. He has been with BAT for over 30 years since 1992. 

Outgoing CEO Jack Bowles has been at the helm since 1 April 2019, steering the firm through the challenges of the pandemic, having joined the group in the early noughties. Under Bowles’ tenure, shares in BAT have shed around 18%, peaking in February 2022 but under pressure since last year’s high.

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