May came down to a month of economics, politics and of course a wonderful celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.
In UK markets, the FTSE 100 had a rather quieter month of May, with the index +0.8%, +3% year to date. As you descend the market capitalisations, the indices had a rougher time with the FTSE 250 -1.4% (-13% year to date) and the FTSE AIM All-Share -4.6% (-19.7% year to date).
Economically, inflation dominated the news pages (again) with Germany printing a higher figure than anticipated (+8.7%), but there was some relief to global markets as the US core personal consumption expenditure price index rose 4.9%, in-line with expectations, even though it was the fastest gain since 1983. Strong US non-farms stung US growth stocks further, but the S&P 500 finally broke out of its seven-week losing streak. Meanwhile, some good news from China, as the covid lockdown in Shanghai started to ease with the anticipated opening up of manufacturing and supply chains, hoping to ease global inflationary pressures.
In the UK, Boris hung on to his role as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party by surviving his vote of confidence from his party’s MPs. We expect to see a lot more emphasis on policy over the coming weeks as the government attempts to get back on track and get back into the populations good books again. All eyes are now on the July by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton. In a rather less-conservative move, Rishi Sunak announced a £5 billion windfall tax on energy companies of 25%, with a 90% tax relief for firms that invest in oil and gas extraction in the UK and North Sea.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee arrived right at the end of the month with the nation celebrating the momentous achievement and feeling every one of Prince Louis’s emotions as we watched Diana Ross on stage and Prue Leith being pushed up the Mall in her broken-down Jaguar. Pub groups were equally pleased in the aftermath as the preceding 4 days of holiday celebrations pushed like-for-like trade up 20% against 2019, and we are hoping for more sizzling sales from companies over the next few weeks.
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