Themes from December

US Federal Reserve hiked the Federal Funds rate to 2.25% to 2.50% as expected, but in the press conference afterwards, chairman Jerome Powell suggested further hikes were likely in 2019.

PM Theresa May delayed a House of Commons vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill when it became apparent the vote would fail – the key terms will be debated during January 2019.

Global equities ended a torrid 2018, with indices off sharply, UK blue chips fell 12%, Tokyo dropped 14.9%, the Dow was off 6% whilst the Shanghai Composite endured a 21.6% drop. For many indices, the declines were the sharpest since 2008.

Apple Inc ended 2018 at $157.85 per share a drop of 32.4% from highs of $233.47 per share in August, bogged down by iPhone growth concerns.

President Trump said the US government will remain shutdown until the US Congress agrees to fund the controversial US-Mexico border wall.

ASOS lowered its 2019 guidance it now expects EBIT of 2%, half its previous operating margin. The board cited very tough trading conditions.

US crude oil ended near 2018 lows reached on Christmas Eve of $42.53/ barrel having declined 44% from highs of US$75.96/ barrel on 3rd October.

HMV entered administration for the second time on 28th December 2018 after poor trading in the pre-Xmas period.

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