WEEKEND WEB: Tech winners and energy losers

Scott Woods
Scott Woods
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SCOTT WOODS takes his weekly local at the global financial markets.

It was a decidedly shaky start to last week, with energy stocks experiencing particularly heavy falls, due to a falling oil price. However, a late rally in US technology and consumer staples stocks, courtesy of good profits announcements resulted in the S&P 500 index moving into positive territory.

In Asia, performances were decidedly mixed. While investors in Japan took profits, Indian shares and bonds, staged a late rally on with news that a leading credit rating agency had become more optimistic on the country’s outlook under Narendra Modi. In Europe, shares drifted lower, while in the UK, trading was quiet ahead of the budget.

• Every little helps and for patient shareholders in Vodafone and Tesco, last week produced good news for both UK-based companies. Shares in Vodafone, whose profits are quoted in euros despite its shares being registered in London, rose 5 per cent on news of its first upgrade to underlying earnings guidance in ‘recent history,’ with particularly strong growth coming from its Italian division.

Meanwhile, the Competition and Markets Authority gave provisional clearance on Tesco’s purchase of wholesaler Booker, despite some shareholder scepticism.

• Adulated as a revolutionary innovation by its fans, while condemned as a device for money-laundering by its detractors, bitcoin continues to generate controversy. The cryptocurrency’s rise versus the US dollar has added further heat to the debate, given the wild swings in price it has experienced along the way. The currency pair reached a record peak on Friday, with one bitcoin worth US$7,997, but only after recovering from a 29 per cent decline suffered from the previous Wednesday to Monday. Source: Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI).

The value of investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.