The US economy contracted by 0.7% in the first quarter of 2015 relative to the same period of last year. The Bureau of Economic Analysis adjusted its previous estimate of 0.2% growth downwards after more detailed information on import levels and capital investment became available. Analysts remained positive about the rest of the year, with Markit’s Chris Williamson saying that “the first quarter lull is already history; it’s the extent of the rebound that will be critical in determining the timing of the Fed’s first move on interest rates”.
Elsewhere, the Indian economy surged ahead by 7.5% in the first quarter, beating analysts’ expectations and accelerating from a 6.6% level in the final 3 months of 2014. However, international experts have complained about the Indian Government’s new statistical methodology and do not believe that recent GDP data correspond with other figures such as industrial output levels.
The FTSE 100 fell by 56.49 points to 6,984.43 points; the FTSE 250 dropped by 116.12 points to 18,120.88; the FTSE All Share decreased by 35.43 points to 3,789.24 points; and the FTSE AIM All Share finished the day up by 1.97 points at 772.23 points.
As part of a concerted move towards simplified operations, Old Mutual (OML) has agreed to sell its Swiss subsidiary Skania Leben AG for an undisclosed consideration. The deal is expected to complete within the next six months and remains subject to regulatory approval. Shares in Old Mutual fell 5.4p to 221.1p.
Shares in investment outfit Volvere (VLE) soared 30p to 357.5p following news that its pre-tax profits for 2014 were £1.6 million, more than triple what it achieved in 2013 and a turnaround from losses at the half-year point. Excellent results at Shire Foods including an exceptional gain of £0.85 million, which is 80% owned by Volvere, helped drive the improvement.
After an independent accounting review and the disposal of its Professional Services Division for £637 million, Quindell (QPP) has promised to return at least £1 pound a share to investors. Pricewaterhousecoopers said the company’s reporting procedures were “largely acceptable but were at the aggressive end of acceptable practice” and commented that some policies including those involving noise induced hearing loss cases were invalid. The shares grew by 0.5p to 130.25p.
Immunodiagnostic Systems (IDH) plummeted 32.5p to 272.5p after the firm revealed that it anticipates a further drop in full revenues during the current period. Management said that performance in the 12 months to 31st March was in line with prior guidance issued in April. The company remains committed to its current strategy.
Monday’s news today
On Monday, we are expecting US personal consumption, manufacturing and construction data as well as EU manufacturing PMI results.