The Team

Established in 2008, Investment Markets has five employees. Max founded Investment Markets after graduating from Cambridge University and working as a solicitor for twelve years. John joined Investment Markets shortly after launch having worked as a finance journalist. Tim joined Investment Markets in 2009 after a career in television current affairs production. Muhammed also joined in 2009 after a series of financial services roles and Georgi is the newest member of the team, joining in 2011 bringing with him experience around finance, legal and compliance issues.

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PFC leads 100 on higher oil prices

Еquities markets in Europe were higher Monday on new data showing that manufacturing was up in the United States, the UK and China in July.

The Institute for Supply Management reported its factory index at 48.9 in July, more of an advance than expected after being at 44.8 in June.

The FTSE 100 was up 1.61 percent to 4,682.46 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 1.98 percent to 8,158.16.

Petrofac Ltd. (LSE: PFC), a construction and chemical engineering group related to the oil and gas sector, led energy-related shares and turned in the best performance of the day on the 100 as it added 11.53 percent, as oil and metals prices were higher.

Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) led the mining sector higher as it added 12.68 percent on the 250, while over on the 100, three of the five top gainers were from the sector, where Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) was up 8.76 percent, Eurasian Natural Resources (LSE: ENRC) was 7.12 percent higher and Xstrata (LSE: XTA) gained 7.09 percent.

Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC; NYSE: BCS; TYO: 8642) led banks higher as it added 6.7 percent on a positive profits report from the first half.

Industrial rental equipment company Ashtead Group (LSE: AHT) led winners on the 250 with a gain of 13.25 percent.

British Sky Broadcasting Group (LSE: BSY) turned in the worst performance of the day on the 100 as it fell 2.84 percent, while casino and interactive gaming operator Rank Group (LSE: RNK) dropped 5.34 percent for the worst day on the 250.

The Eurofirst 300 was up 1.43 percent to 942.02 while the IBEX added 0.42 percent to 10,901, the CAC-40 was 1.5 percent higher to 3,477.8 and the Dax gained 1.78 percent to 5,426.85.

Carmakers were higher as Renault (Euronext: RNO) led the CAC-40 with a gain of 13.99 percent while Peugeot (Euronext: UG) was up 5.4 percent and Daimler (FWB: DAI; NYSE: DAI) added 3.4 percent.

Commerzbank (FWB: CBK) led the Dax as it added 5.09 percent while Credit Agricole (Euronext: ACA) was up 5.84 percent on the CAC-40.

There were only seven losers on the CAC-40, led by drinks maker Pernod Ricard (Euronext: RI) with a decline of 1.5 percent.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on the session.

In Tokyo the Nikkei 225 was down 0.04 percent to 10,352.47 but the Topix index added 0.77 percent to 957.56 in its 12th consecutive gaining session, while the Mothers market was up 0.32 percent to 464.86.

Carmakers were higher, helped by approval in the US House of Representatives of $2 billion more for the “cash for clunkers” program to boost new car sales.

Nissan Motor (TYO: 7201) added 5.4 percent as it introduced its electric car, the Leaf, which will be introduced next year in the Japan, the US and Europe, while Toyota (TYO: 7203) was up 2.5 percent and Mazda (TYO: 7561) gained 6.1 percent.

Banks were also higher in Tokyo.

In Australia the SP/ASX200 was up 0.46 percent to 4,263.4 and the Sydney Ordinaries added 0.49 percent to 4,270.5, while the Kospi was also 0.49 percent higher to 1,564.98 in South Korea.

The Straits Times Index added 0.84 percent to 2,681.64, the Hang Seng was up 1.14 percent to 20,807.26, the Shanghai Composite was 1.48 percent higher to 3,462.59, and the Sensex gained 1.62 percent to 15,924.23.

In Taiwan, on the other hand, the Taiex was 0.3 percent lower to 7,056.71.

New York markets were higher in early afternoon trade, with gains coming on the good news about manufacturing.

Even though the manufacturing sector remains in contraction with the ISM index reading below 50, the rising numbers have investors convinced that the sector is stabilizing.

The ISM index has not been above 50 in a year and a half.

At just past 1 p.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.1 percent to 9.272.13 while the Nasdaq Composite had added 1.2 percent to 2,002.22 and the SP 500 was 1.4 percent higher to 1,001.26.

Ford Motor (NYSE: F) was up 6.24 percent after it reported that July sales were 2 percent above sales last year in the same month, the first time that has happened since November 2007.

UK unemployment to reach 3.2 million

A BBC reports sheds light of the unemployment trends and figures in the near future as official unemployment figures stand a 2 million but as the government has mounting debts spending cuts and tax hikes will be inevitable and as a result the peak of unemployment is likely to be much higher.

BBC forecasts reveal that this peak is likely to be at 3.2 million by the middle of 2010, with would mean close to 10 percent of the workforce unemployed during a period of further economic instability.

In the peak of the last recession on 1992-93, GDP fell by 2.5 percent however in 2008-09 it is expected to be larger fall.

The announcement is a timely development and has intensified the pressure on Alistair Darling to use the April budget to announce plans to squeeze public spending after the recession as the chancellor has borrowed heavily to fund short term tax cuts.

In last years budget report plans were laid out to borrow £500 billion over five years which has brought national debt to over a record £1 trillion, although current forecast indicate that the treasury will borrow £118 billion in the up and coming financial year and £105 billion in 2011-12.

As a result of the current government’s heavy borrowing the future government will have little choice but to increase taxation and cut spending.

New car sales plunge by over 20 percent

As the current economic downturn brings together falling consumer confidence levels and heightened insecurity, the motor industry has borne the brunt of the downturn.

The latest figures produced by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that car sales are down by 22 percent from last year.

New car registrations in February were 54,359, down from 69,610 the year before, which in part has resulted in many of the main car producers to have to make both production and job cuts in order to stay afloat.

With General Motors Europe announcing that the group is running out of cash, Paul Everitt, the SMMT chief executive, has said that it is imperative that the UK government increases the help available to the industry by making finance and credit more readily available.

The main focus is on making sure that no further jobs are lost if that can be avoided.

It is not all bad news as the “mini segment” of the smallest cars has actually increased, with sales up by 47.3 percent compared to last year.

The best selling car in February by a model-by-model basis is the Ford Fiesta selling 3,260 units and has outsold rivals for the last four months.

Little support for the chocolate tax

GPs have called a halt to the notion of chocolate being taxed in a similar way to alcohol and cigarettes although Dr David Walker actually the driving force behind the idea at a BMA Scotland conference in Clydebank.

The benefits of the idea would be that the increase in tax duty would be used to deal with tackle weight-related conditions and the fight against rising obesity.

Dr Walker stated the fact that nearly one in four people in Scotland are obese a lack of physical activity and that the combination of unhealthy diet and portion sizes exacerbates the situation.

As part of the idea, chocolate has lost its standing as a special treat and by taxing it over the course of a few years perceptions will change.

This is notable given that 225g of chocolate which could be consumed very quickly although such a portion contains almost half the recommended daily calorie intake.

It is recommended that chocolate should be eaten in small amounts and on special occasions, although delegates at the Scottish Local Medical Committee Conference turned the plan down by 34 votes to 32.

The General Practitioners Committee chairman Laurence Buckman said that there is an improvement in eating habits due to education and that alongside legislation education in needed.

Best Casino Stocks to Gamble on

2016 saw a recovery in the big gaming companies. Whilst Macau’s gaming revenue had continued to fall through the first half of 2016, it finally saw consecutive months of growth in the second half, with the rise in March 2017 being Macau’s seventh consecutive month of recovery. Reports in the same month that its VIP segment remained strong also helped improve investor confidence.

In 2016, Las Vegas also continued a slow and steady recovery, and that helped drive shares of MGM Resorts higher. 2016 also saw the opening of new resorts including Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS). These took revenue from existing resorts, creating an incremental negative for Melco Crown (NASDAQ:MLCO) and MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) in the region.

On March 28, 2017, WYNN Resorts continued to be the biggest gainer year-to-date (or YTD). It had risen 33.3 percent YTD, followed by MPEL, which had risen 17.2 percent. LVS had risen almost 6.7 percent YTD in the same period. MGM Resorts was the only loser, having fallen 5 percent YTD.

Casino Stocks: your best gamble


A few years ago, Macau was the big growth market and Las Vegas an after-thought. Most analysts believe that Macau’s casinos are set for continued growth in 2017. According to GGRAsia, analysts expect these casinos’ revenues to rise in the range of 9–11 percent YoY as their VIP segments continue to strengthen. Real money online casinos are on the same level according to this site – the number of online casino players is expected to grow from 5 to 15% next year.

For 2017, other analysts also expect Macau’s casinos’ revenues to rise 8–10 percent and these may be your best casino bets to gamble on. However, the Macanese government maintains its forecast of 200 billion pataca, or USD35.4 billion, in revenues. Currently, Sands China (LVS), Wynn Resorts (WYNN), MGM China (MGM), Galaxy Entertainment, Melco Crown (MPEL), and SJM Holdings are the major casino operators in Macau.

Investors can gain exposure to LVS by investing in the iShares US Consumer Services ETF (IYC), which invests 0.69 percent of its portfolio in the casino stocks.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas has been stagnant for 4 years, but is consistent from a gaming perspective and resorts are able to continuously raise prices on hotel rooms. Add to that other non-gaming revenue including nightclubs, malls, and restaurants, and Las Vegas is slowly but steadily adding to cash flow generation. All of which ties into how investors should look at valuation today. By comparing enterprise value (net debt plus market cap) to EBITDA(EBITDA-Calculator), a measure for cash flow coming from a resort, you get one of the best measures of a gaming company’s value.

Wynn Resorts has recently completed its most expensive resort to date and eventually it will begin generating hundreds of millions in EBITDA annually. Assuming it generates USD600 million in annual EBITDA, a similar figure to the less expensive Wynn Macau, the stock’s EV/EBITDA ratio falls to 9.0, which may be a better measure of its value.

Best stocks today

MGM Resorts is a steady, slowly growing operator. They will open a new resort in Macau in 2017, incrementally adding to cash flow. If you are a risk-averse gaming investor, this is the best casino stock on which to gamble.

If you think a Macau recovery is on the horizon, then Wynn Resorts is considered good value. The company’s Wynn Palace will increase revenue and EBITDA throughout 2017 and benefit from its location near the airport and light rail when construction around the resort is complete. The risk is that Macau may go into decline again, which impacts Wynn more than MGM.

At the end of 2016, it was suggested that Melco Crown Philippines, a subsidiary of Hong Kong gaming giant Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, may not be well positioned long-term due to it not having any near-term growth resorts. Yet in May 2017, Melco Crown Philippines was up 117 percent. The Philippines’ promotion of phone gambling, banned in Macau, and an anti-corruption drive in the Philippines has also encouraged Chinese gamblers to visit.

Being highly exposed to the Chinese market, will make Melco Resorts more sensitive to the state of politics between Manila and Beijing, though the recent loosening of visa requirements are expected to boost Chinese visitor arrivals to the Philippines in 2017.


Banks and energy leads London up

ondon trading saw a return of confidence, not least after Japan and China affirmed their commitment to buying up European bonds to support the regions sovereign rescue fund.

Banks gained from increased investor confidence, with Barclays (BARC) leading the rally, up 5.53% on the day, with HSBC (HSBCA) up 2.42%, Lloyds (LLOY) up 1.52%, and RBS (RBS) up 1.92%.

Energy stocks also saw gains: BP continued to engage investor confidence, not least after last weeks announcement that the companys liabilities in the US over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill would likely be less than accounted for.

Other energy stocks that saw sharp gains were Atlantic Coal Plc (26.98%), BPC Ltd (15.38%), and Sound Oil Plc (14.29%). Gulf Keystone Petroleum Limited and Cairn Energy PLC also saw strong gains of over 5%.

ARM Holdings saw a 6.99% boost today, as the companys future tied to Microsoft began to settle upon investors. After initially seeing strong gains on the announced partnership, ARM shares had fallen back.

Ones to watch:

Bank stocks remain unstable, with their fate tied to action in Europe. If the European Central Bank can be allowed to push harder with bond buying, expect stocks such as RBS to go up. Due to the current low price of RBS shares, that means potential strong gains for the daring investor.

ARM also looks like a good stock for traditional long-term investing. While Windows mobile devices may have had a shaky start on the market, the success of ARM has been plainly thrown into the same ring as Microsoft. The fact that Microsoft has power to bludgeon its way into market share for mobile devices, this is a stock to watch.

Note of caution:

Were currently riding a high on the FTSE 100, not least after strong overall movement through December. This means we could be due a correction in January across the board, especially if weak economic data for the UK shows were crawling rather than rebounding out of recession. And, as ever, the situation with sovereign debt in Europe remains a serious danger to market sentiment.

CNE, BG up as energy sector sees gains

European equities markets were higher Wednesday as the energy sector saw gains following a significant gain in oil prices on Tuesday and banks also were mostly higher.

The FTSE 100 added 1.15 percent to 5,004.3 in London, while the FTSE 250 was up 1.13 percent to 9,137.05.

Oil explorer Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) added 4.61 percent while BG Group (LSE: BG; NYSE: BG) added 3.79 percent on the 100.

The biggest gainer on the 100 was British Airways (LSE: BAY; NYSE: BAB), which was up 4.98 percent, while travel agent Thomas Cook Group (LSE: TCG) gained 4.61 percent.

Miners were mixed, with the biggest decline in the sector coming for Lonmin (LSE: LMI), which fell 2.8 percent for the biggest drop on the 100, while over on the 250 gold and silver miner Hochschild Mining (LSE: OCH) added 6.71 percent for the best gain in the sector.

Yell Group had the best day on the 250, where the directories publisher added 20.31 percent.

A mixed retail sector was led by Sports Direct International (LSE: SPD), which added 11.48 percent on the 250.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.95 percent to 986.99 while the IBEX added 0.84 percent to 11,462, the CAC-40 was 1.28 percent higher to 3,707.69 and the Dax gained 1.69 percent to 5,574.26.

The automobile manufacturing sector was up as Renault (Euronext: RNO) had the best day on the CAC-40 with a gain of 6.93 percent followed by Peugeot (Euronext: UG), which added 5.86 percent.

Over on the Dax, BMW (FWB: BMW) was up 7.74 percent while truck maker Man (FWB: EDF1) was 5.26 percent higher.

Commerzbank (FWB: CBK) had the best day on the Dax, adding 11.92 percent.

Equities markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on the session.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.78 percent to 10, 312.14 and the Topix index was down 0.69 percent to 939.84, but the Mothers market added 1.65 percent to 447.84.

Banks were lower on a downgrade for the sector from JPMorgan Chase, from “neutral” to “slightly bearish”, while within the sector both Mitusbishi UFJ (TYO: 8306) and Sumitomo Mitsui (TYO: 8316) were reduced from “overweight” to “neutral”.

Sumitomo Mitusi was down 2.7 percent while Mitsubishi UFJ dropped 3 percent.

Gains in oil prices Tuesday sent Japan Petroleum Exploration Co up 1.9 percent (TYO: 1662) while Inpex (TYO: 1605) added 3.9 percent.

Australia’s markets also declined on the session as the Sydney Ordinaries fell 0.02 percent to 4,527.1 and the SP/ASX200 dropped 0.04 percent to 4,522.2.

The Straits Times Index was down 0.39 percent while South Korea’s Kospi was 0.74 percent lower to 1,607.77, Taiwan’s Taiex fell 0.87 percent to 7,250.72 and the Hang Seng dropped 1.04 percent to 20,851.04 in Hong Kong.

India’s Sensex added 0.37 percent to 16,183.55 while the Shanghai Composite was up 0.54 percent to 2,946.26.

Wall Street was higher in early afternoon trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average had added 0.69 percent to 9,562.94 at just before 1 p.m. in New York, while at the same time the Nasdaq Composite was 1.25 percent higher to 2,063.29 and the SP 500 was up 0.89 percent to 1,034.54.

Amec adds 4.42 percent in London

European equities markets were higher Tuesday after Monday’s declines.

London markets were up after reports that inflation held at 1.8 percent in July, although analysts still expect inflation to drop more this year.

The FTSE 100 was 0.88 percent higher to 4,685.78 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 0.97 precen tto 8,354.48.

Energy-related engineering group Amec (LSE: AMEC) added 4.42 percent to turn in the best performance of the day on the 100, while other top gainers included insurers and hotels operators.

Most in the Real Estate sector saw gains but British Land (LSE: BLND) led decliners in the sector and on the 100 as it dropped 2.66 percent, while home builder Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) was the worst performer on the 250 with a decline of 3.52 percent.

British Land’s decline came on profit-taking and after its CEO discounted rumors that it could be the target of takeover attempts.

Miners were mostly higher as well, but Lonmin (LSE: LMI) was down 0.22 percent, Aquarius Platinum fell 1.54 percent, and Vedanta Resources dropped 1.8 percent for the second biggest decline of the day on the 100.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 1.07 percent to 931.86 while the CAC-40 added 0.91 percent to 3,450.69, the Dax was 0.94 percent higher to 5,250.74 and the IBEX gained 1.04 percent to 10,708.30.

In the steel sector, Salzgitter (FWB: SZG) led gainers on the Dax with an advance of 4.34 percent while elsewhere in the sector, ThyssenKrupp (FWB: TKA; LSE: THK) was up 2.98 percent.

Volkswagen (FWB: VOW) dropped the most on the Dax, falling 1.23 percent, but over on the CAC-40 Renault (Euronext: RNO) added 2.73 percent.

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext: ALU; NYSE: ALU; TYO: 6687) was the biggest gainer on the CAC-40, gaining 3.4 percent, while chip maker STMicroelectronics (Euronext: STM; NYSE: STM) turned in the worst performance of the day on that index, dropping 0.99 percent.

Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher after Monday’s significant declines.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 added 0.16 percent to 10,284.96 while the Topix index was up a slight 0.01 percent to 949.66 and the Mothers market gained 0.08 percent to 455.22.

Traders were down on declines in commodities prices, with Mitsubishi Corp (TYO: 8058) falling 3 percent on the session.

On the other hand, Sumitomo Mitsui Construction (TYO: 1821) and IHI Corp (TYO: 7013) were up 13 percent and 0.6 percent respectively on reports that they will build a bridge in Vietnam.

In the electronics sector, Casio Computer Co Ltd (TYO: 6952) added 7.1 percent after Credit Suisse issued an upgrade on the computer maker from “under perform” to “outperform”.

Other gainers in the region included the Kospi, which was up 0.21 percent to 1,550.24 in South Korea, while the Hang Seng added 0.84 percent to 20,306.27, the Straits Times Index was 0.85 percent higher to 2,567.72, the Shanghai Composite gained 1.4 percent to 2,910.88 and the Sensex added 1.69 percent to 15,035.26 in India.

In Australia, however, the SP/ASX200 was down 0.15 percent to 4,381.6 while the Sydney Ordinaries fell 0.28 percent to 4,385.9, and in Taiwan the Taiex dropped 2.05 percent to 6,789.77.

New York markets were higher in midday trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.81 percent to 9,209.55 while the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.12 percent to 1,952.38 and the SP 500 had gained 0.92 percent to 988.75.

Gains were helped by quarterly reports from Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Target (NYSE: TGT), after reports from each were better than expected although both saw profits fall in the quarter.

There was mixed news from the Commerce Department about home construction, as builders constructed 1 percent fewer new homes and apartments in July, but single-family home construction was up 1 percent in the month.