Interactive Investor

Must read: Wall Street sell-off, gold, oil, US jobs, UK house prices

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

5th April 2024 08:47

by Victoria Scholar from interactive investor

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      European markets are suffering today, taking their cues from a sell-off on Wall Street and weakness overnight in Asia. On the FTSE 100, oil stocks BP (LSE:BP.) and Shell (LSE:SHEL) are bucking the negativity, trading in the green while Ocado Group (LSE:OCDO), easyJet (LSE:EZJ) and Entain (LSE:ENT) are languishing at the bottom of the basket. 

      The Dow Jones suffered its worst day in over a year with the three US major averages all shedding over 1% each. All eyes are on the latest US jobs report with consensus for 200,000 job additions and a reduction in the unemployment rate to 3.8% in March. 

      Precious metals are taking a pause for breath after gold hit an all-time high on Thursday, breaking above $2,300, rounding off an impressive three-week rally partly thanks to strong central bank buying. Oil is trading higher, on track for its second weekly gain buoyed by geopolitical uncertainty and the potential for stronger demand on the back of improving economic data.


      According to Halifax, UK house prices fell by 1% in March, logging their first drop since September despite forecasts for a 0.1% monthly increase. Year-on-year prices are up 0.3%, also below forecasts for an annual increase of 1.45%. 

      These figures paint a more pessimistic picture than those from Nationwide earlier in the week. However, both data points suggest the housing market remains weak on the back of a prolonged period of elevated interest rates as the market waits patiently for the Bank of England to start loosening monetary policy. Expensive mortgage rates have disincentivised property transactions pushing rental costs through the roof instead. 

      Improved mortgage rates at the start of the year provided a boost to housing market activity, but those rates have since been going up again, pricing in the fact that inflation remains above target and the central bank clearly isn’t rushing to carry out the first cut.

      These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

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