It has been quite the 24 hours for conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic.
Early results from local UK elections show Tories made a net gain of 129 seats taking nine authorities and 510 seats, while Labour lost two councils with a net loss of 109 seats, according to the BBC. UKIP failed to win any seats and has a net loss of 41 seats. Election results will continue to come in throughout the day.
Over in the States, Republicans managed to push a repeal of Obamacare through the House, providing the Trump administration with its first legislative victory and making the bill – which is likely to take healthcare away from millions of Americans – the Senate’s problem to deal with.
Stocks across Asia and commodity-linked currencies were weaker on Friday after the price of oil closed below $50 a barrel for the first time in five months. West Texas Intermediate was down as much 3.9 per cent at $43.76, the first time below $44 a barrel since mid-November.
In Sydney the S&P/ASX 200 index was off 0.7 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng had shed 1.2 per cent. Tokyo’s stock market was off on holiday.
Futures tip the FTSE 100 to dip 0.2 per cent at the open in London, while the S&P 500 is expected to drop the same amount when trading begins in New York.
Corporate earnings reports out today include Intercontinental Hotels, Pearson, Watchstone Group, Smith & Nephew and Smurfit Kappa.
The economic calendar for Friday is what it is (all times London):
- 08.00: Spain industrial output
- 08.00: Switzerland foreign exchange reserves
- 08.30: Germany Markit Construction PMI
- 08.30: Sweden industrial production
- 09.00: Markit retail PMIs for Germany, France, Italy and the eurozone