FTSE lower and US stocks up as Sunak pledges tax cut

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech at a college in north London on November 20, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Daniel Leal-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has promised 'responsible' tax cuts in Wednesday's autumn statement. Photo: Daniel Leal-WPA Pool/Getty (WPA Pool via Getty Images)

UK stocks remained in the red on Monday afternoon and equities across Europe were mixed following remarks by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that now is the time to cut tax.

Speaking ahead of the autumn statement on Wednesday, where a raft of economic policy announcements will be trotted out, Sunak said taxes would be reduced in "a responsible way" due to the fact his target of halving inflation had been met.

The government is moving to the "next phase" of its plan to grow the economy, he added, while declining to say specifically which taxes would be cut.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) fell 0.1% by afternoon in London by the close, with Germany's DAX (^GDAXI) dropping 0.1% and France's CAC (^FCHI) rising 0.2%.

Elsewhere, business was abuzz with talk of AI following an eventful weekend for OpenAI founder Sam Altman, as news eked out the tech chief has landed a job at Microsoft (MSFT).

Over the weekend, the board of OpenAI — the company that created ChatGPT — ousted Altman as CEO, saying the founder "was not consistently candid in his communications with the board". It was rumoured Altman would return to his position after he posted a photo wearing an OpenAI guest pass on social media, but that wasn't to be.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, said on Monday that Altman will join his company instead to lead a new AI research team — a number of OpenAI employees have pledged to follow him.

OpenAI named Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear as its interim chief executive. Microsoft stock was up as much as 2.2% in premarket trade, before opening 1.8% higher in the US.

US stocks rose heading into Thanksgiving week, with the S&P 500 (^GSPC) up 0.3%, the Dow (^DJI) rising 0.4% and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) gaining 0.8% by the closing bell in London

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Data this morning showed German producer prices down 11% — but policy decisions remain unchanged.

"It would be unwise to start cutting interest rates too soon," Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel said on Friday. "We must not loosen policy until we are absolutely certain of returning to price stability on a lasting basis."

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  • Lucy Harley-mckeown


    Bitcoin is up above $27,000 again following news that the asset appears to have gained some political support on the global stage, following the election of Javier Milei in Argentina.

    Milei has called the central bank a “scam” and bitcoin "the return of money to its original creator, the private sector”. This political shift is perceived as favourable for the cryptocurrency space, contributing to the optimistic market outlook.

    Investor sentiment has been positively influenced by reports that Santander’s private arm would offer to buy, sell and hold services with Bitcoin and Ether (ETH-USD) to clients in Switzerland.

  • Lucy Harley-mckeown

    And here's Emmett Shear's statement on OpenAI:

  • Lucy Harley-mckeown

    GBP gives mixed signals

    The pound continued to fall against the euro (GBPEUR=X) on Monday hitting its lowest level in just over six months. The move followed inflation data released last week which showed a dip, alongside retail sales data for October which showed a contraction of -0.3%. Sales growth was expected to come in at 0.5%.

    Sterling is currently trading at about 1.14EUR.

    Despite this fall, there was still strength against the dollar, hovering around its highest point in a month on Monday in London, rising towards the $1.25 mark. The pound had dipped against the dollar last week based on the aforementioned data releases.

  • Lucy Harley-mckeown

    As the FTSE tips into the red, here are the top risers and fallers of the week so far:


    Diploma (DPLM.L) ⬆️ 6.6% -- up on the back of reporting organic growth of 8%.

    Spirax Sarco Engineering (SPX.L) ⬆️ 2.3%

    Halma (HLMA.L) ⬆️ 1.7%


    Ashstead Group (AHT.L) ⬇️ 11.6% -- the equipment rental company lost ground on the back of Hollywood strikes and fewer natural disasters.

    Compass Group (CPG.L) ⬇️ 4.8%

    AstraZeneca (AZN.L) ⬇️ 1.8%

  • Lucy Harley-mckeown

    The OpenAI story is developing in real-time:

  • Lucy Harley-mckeown

    Overnight in Asia

    Asian stocks were mixed on Monday, with China-based stocks rising and equities in Japan pulling back.

    The Hang Seng (^HSI) rose 1.6%, while the SSE Composite (000001.SS) gained 0.5% on the back of promises from the Chinese government for stimulus and support for its beleaguered property sector.

    The Nikkei (^N225) finished 0.6% lower after briefly peaking at a 33-year high. Car manufacturers including Mazda led the decline on the stronger yen. The Nikkei has gained about 28% this year so far.

  • Lucy Harley-mckeown

    Good morning from London! At Yahoo Finance UK we're all getting ready for the Autumn statement, as the government preps to trot out its economic pledges on Wednesday. Over the weekend we learned the government has made its decision on whether to cut benefits in real terms. Papers are asking whether we are on the brink of a real tax cut.

    With that in mind, let's get to it.

Watch: No immediate return to OpenAI for Sam Altman as he lands Microsoft job

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