21st April 2013
1) Tesco’s profits are down for the first time in 20 years. It brings its US experiment with Fresh & Easy to an end, but the write down is more than expected at £2.3 billion and more than just spare cash. Korea, the jewel in the group’s international crown, also hit a brick wall. It is stopping continued UK expansion. It posted a 12.7% reduction in group trading profits to £3.284bn. The Guardian surveys the mixed bag of analysts’ opinions though some are upbeat.
2) China’s growth was a ‘mere’ 7.7 per cent in the first quarter of the year. Not all are concerned. Schroders says China is heading in the right direction. The Economist, in a similar vein, argues that speed isn’t everything.
3) The IMF is on a collision course with the UK government. As growth stays low, it wants to pace of fiscal consolidation slowed down as Sky News reports.
4) Fitch downgrades the UK to AA+. That is two ratings agencies out of the big three. Moody’s cut first but S&P is still a fan as the BBC points out.
5) Gold has had a torrid couple of weeks, and is officially in a bear market, but many investment professionals think this is a temporary phenomenon. F&C’s veteran market watcher Ted Scott is one who believes that the strategic case for gold remains strong.