Breakfast Briefing

UK stockmarket at record level as oil price rallies

May 15, 2017

UK shares are at record levels today, shaking off the concerns around the WannaCry cyber-attack and instead being driven by higher oil prices benefiting oil and commodity companies.

Tesco - the world’s 5th largest supermarket group, has pledged to switch to 100% renewable energy - although not until 2030. The company will be installing solar panels on the roofs of its properties and also pushing suppliers to become more sustainable, with an even longer term aim of being carbon neutral by 2050. The initiative is to be applauded but are they taking too long to achieve their goals? 

Microsoft - found itself in the midst of an unintended crisis on Friday after hackers launched a ransomware attack on computer networks running versions of the company’s software that is no longer supported. As well as being a timely reminder of the importance of having comprehensive IT security policies, this also has the potential to raise questions over the long term liabilities of those providing operating systems, especially at an enterprise level. Microsoft has been quick to release a ‘patch’ that once installed should prevent further problems, but given the scale of the attack, questions will be asked for some time to come. 

TUI - the tour operator behind the Thomson brand - may have this morning posted a bigger loss for the second quarter than it did a year ago, but the company is stressing that it’s the late timing of the Easter break that has had this impact. The company expects to increase underlying earnings by at least 10% for the full year as it continues to benefit from a raft of efficiency and cost saving measures that it has adopted.

Google - has pledged stricter controls over its advertising network in a bid to allay client fears. Its AdSense network will now start to block specific pages rather than entire websites, although this move arguably has the biggest benefit for Google itself, as a zero tolerance approach to inappropriate content will now only remove a small volume of advertising sales.

Greece - attempts by the country to resolve its ongoing debt crisis could flounder once again as a parliamentary vote later this week on fresh austerity measures is expected to result in more protests and wildcat strikes by Greek citizens. Failure to find a way ahead here could see Greece default on its debt obligations and ultimately the country may have to withdraw from the single Euro currency - clearly a solution politicians in Brussels are keen to avoid.