Good morning. European stocks are set to open slightly higher this morning after the threat of fresh US tariffs on goods from Brazil, Argentina, France and China sent them tumbling to their worst day in two months yesterday.
Global markets were rattled as Donald Trump sparked a new front in his trade wars, announcing plans to slap duties on steel and aluminum exports from Brazil and Argentina. In a tweet, the US president accused the two South American countries of “presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies”.
Later, the Trump administration threatened to slap 100 pc tariffs on up to $ 2.4bn (£ 1.9bn) of French goods in retaliation to the country digital tax against US tech companies. The White House also threatened to increase levies on Chinese goods if a deal can’t be reached between the two countries by December 15.
Mr Trump is in London today at a NATO summit where he will meet prime minister Boris Johnson and Queen Elizabeth.
5 things to start your day
1)US threatens 100 pc tariffs on French goods over digital tax ‘discrimination’:Sparkling wine and cheese – including Roquefort, Edam and Gruyere – are on the list of goods that could be targeted as soon as mid-January, as well as handbags, porcelain, yoghurt and other French products.
2) Gary Senior, the former London boss of one of the world’s biggest law firms,propositioned a junior colleague in his hotel room after a night of drinking, a London tribunal heard on Monday.
3)Special report: fear and uncertainty in South Wales as steel industry teeters on the brink. The Tata Steel site has been the lifeblood of Port Talbot for decades, employing close to 20, 000 in the 1960 s. But the steelworks has endured wave after wave of job cuts and there are fears the site could ultimately close down.
4) Housebuilder Bovis has been stung bya major shareholder revolt over plans to hike its bosses’ bonuses. The firm suffered a rebellion by more than 30 pc of shareholders over the proposals, which will allow chief executive Greg Fitzgerald to earn up to £ 4.1m a year if he hits targets.
5)Mark Carney clocks up dizzying number of air miles on his climate crusade: Greta has called on a zero-carbon yacht to spread her message. For his conference hopping, Carney has chosen a more conventional mode of propulsion: a jet engine.
What happened overnight
Stocks were mixed in Asia as investors contemplated President Donald Trump’s latest tariff moves against an array of trading partners, with a key December 15 deadline looming for Chinese imports.
Equity benchmarks opened lower across the region in the wake of the biggest slide on Wall Street in eight weeks, but pared losses as the session wore on. Hong Kong and Shanghai were almost unchanged, while futures on the S&P 500 Index rose.
Trump on Monday slapped steel tariffs on Brazil and Argentina, and proposed new levies on France. The moves come amid a continued lack of closure on a US-China trade deal, with the next round of tariff hikes on Chinese goods less than two weeks away.
Coming up today
First-quarter results from Ferguson, the plumbing group formerly known as Wolseley, give Kevin Murphy, the new chief, his first opportunity to lay out his strategic plans for the company.
There are reasons for concern: Ferguson’s second-half figures (to July) showed a slowdown across several of its markets, including the US. There are reasons to be cheerful, however: the US housing market appears to be chugging along solidly, and recent interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve may stimulate further activity.
Also offering an update will be Cineworld, which is trading at five-year lows as it pushes for growth amid pressure from streaming services. Major releases such as Frozen 2 will offer some comfort.
Full-year results:Gooch & Housego
Interim results:Consort Medical
Trading update:Cineworld, Ferguson
Economics:BRC sales, construction PMI final reading (UK), Industrial producer prices (eurozone)