Morning Message

Friday Market Update

Friday 21st April 2017

European shares were mixed in early trading ahead of the first round of voting in the French presidential election. The ESTX 50 (-0.29%) and the CAC 40 (-0.62%) both decreased, while the UK markets (+0.13%) and Dax (+0.04%) increased. Danone dropped -2.4% after reporting first quarter sales figures, which rose 0.7%, a sharp slowdown from 2.1% growth in fourth quarter of 2016. French banks extended the previous sessions gains, with Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole trading 0.2% to 1.2% higher. WS Atkins gained +4% after Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group said it would buy the firm for $2.67 million. Domino’s Pizza rose more than +3% after Peel Hunt raised its rating on the stock to “buy” from “hold”. .

US stocks rallied as a round of solid earnings led by American Express pushed equities higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.85%), S&P 500 (+0.76%) and the Nasdaq Composite (+0.92%) all increased. American Express closed up +5.9% as the biggest boost to the Dow after reporting a smaller than expected drop in quarterly profit. CSX Corp gained +5.6%, and was one of the best performers on the S&P 500 after the railroad reported a better than expected quarterly net profit driven by rising freight volumes and said it plans to cut costs and boost profitability moving forward. Philip Morris fell -3.5% and was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 after the company’s first quarter profit forecast fell below estimates.

Asian stocks were mostly higher after a strong session in the US amid caution following a suspected terrorist shooting in Paris ahead of the first round of the presidential election at the weekend. The Nikkei 225 (+1.03%) and the S&P/ASX 200 (+0.56%) both rallied, while the Hang seng (-0.06%) retreated. Toshiba dropped -5.73% after Reuters said Western Digital is mulling a joint bid with Japanese government backed players for the Japanese conglomerate’s semiconductor business. Coca Cola Amatil plunged -10.52% after the company downgraded earnings forecasts due to weaker trade in Australian beverages.

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