There’s been a further softness seen in the pound, this morning with the currency falling to a 3-week low against the US dollar, although a fair chunk of these declines can be attributed to a persistently strong buck. PM May is expected to tell MPs this lunchtime to hold their nerve in a statement to the House of Commons, which will basically be a plea for more time as she seek to secure changes to her Brexit deal from Brussels. However, cynics continue to believe this is simply a ploy to run down the clock further and back parliament into a corner ahead of the Article 50 deadline, which would ultimately leave MPs with a straight choice between her deal and no deal.
GBPUSD is back near possible support around the 1.2830 level with the market handing back the majority of the gains seen since the bounce after May’s Brexit deal was rejected by parliament. Source: xStation
Debenhams shares jump on cash injection
Shares in Debenhams have spiked higher by around a third this morning, after the embattled retailer secured a cash injection which buys it more time to secure a longer-term deal with lenders. The firm has endured a torrid time of it of late, seemingly teetering on the brink after no fewer than 3 profit warnings last year, which left the stock lower by over 90% and recently change hands for less than 3p per share. The struggling department store has called the latest news a “first step” towards a sustainable future but worries will no doubt remain that this is simply a dead cat bounce in the stock that is still besieged with problems.
Tentative deal reached to avoid another US government shutdown
A deal that would provide $1.4B to build 55 miles of fencing along the border with Mexico has been agreed upon by US lawmakers in a step that looks likely to avoid another government shutdown ahead of Friday’s deadline. The funds are far less than the $5.7B sought by Trump originally and may be seen by some as a large compromise on one of the president’s key election promises. Roughly speaking, the agreed level of funding would pay for the a barrier that is only 25% as long as the one originally planned. A Mexican stand-off between Trump’s GOP party and the Democrats had led to a 35 day shutdown which adversely impacted 800,000 federal workers, before an emergency funding bill was passed in late January. Shutdowns are seen as weighing on general economic activity, while they can also impact US-focused markets due to the publication of certain macroeconomic data being postponed when the relevant governmental bodies aren’t at work.