Sector movers: Stocks dance to US dollar's tune
Bond proxies such as Personal Goods (Unilever) or interest rate sensitive stocks (Construction, CRH) fared best at the end of the week, amid weakness in the pound and a sharp drop in longer-term Gilt yields.
For some observers, it was the recent increased confidence in the US economy that was pushing the US dollar higher and Sterling lower at the end of the week, which according to some observers was in turn also giving Gilts' prices a leg up.
Bond yields move inversely to their price.
As of 2006 BST, the US dollar spot index was adding 0.15% to trade at 93.6110 and was near a six-month high.
There was also some 'analyst chatter' to be heard to the effect that US 10-year Treasury note yields might finish the year year near their current level.
Safe haven flows related to recent political events in Italy may also have played a hand, as investors rushed towards the relative safety offered by Gilts, but in any case longer-term US Treasury note yields were also on the back foot at the end of the week.
Related to the gyrations in the dollar, earlier analysts at Citi had weighed in saying that America's so-called 'twin deficits' would eventually drag the US dollar back down.
However, should the US dollar rally much higher then you would want to 'overweight' Japan and the UK, while 'underweighting' Emerging Markets and the US, if you hedge the currency risks. On un unhedged basis, 'overweight' US and 'underweight' EM they said.
Precisely due to that strength in the Greenback, Citi cautioned that a strong dollar tends to drag on commodity sectors, so "a mild tilt towards other cyclical sectors remains appropriate".
Said and done
So while Citi recommended not "chasing" those $US 'bull trades' too hard, in broad terms the market action on Friday appeared to follow that pattern.
Thus, General Industrials were also wanted, while Mining and Oil Equipment fell back as the rising dollar took its toll on commodity prices.
However, there were other factors at play as well, including reports of a possible SFO investigation into Glencore.
AstraZenaca accounted for weakness in the Pharmaceuticals space, after the drug-maker posted first-quarter sales and earnings that came in lower than expected due to investment in drug launches and a larger erosion of its Crestor statin drug than expected, but there were encouraging performance from newer drugs.
Vodafone meanwhile was downgraded by Citi to 'neutral' in the wake of the operator's full-year numbers and guidance for 2019 as well as the implications of its purchase of rival Liberty's German and Eastern Europe.
"We see India as the biggest risk to sentiment as leverage and margin pressure raise concerns of recap needs," analysts at the broker added.
Top performing sectors so far today
Leisure Goods 6,709.33 +3.46%
Construction & Materials 6,858.91 +1.41%
Gas, Water & Multiutilities 5,156.77 +1.32%
General Industrials 6,930.25 +0.80%
Personal Goods 36,387.02 +0.78%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Mining 19,804.48 -1.58%
Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution 14,605.58 -1.53%
Mobile Telecommunications 4,246.66 -1.41%
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology 13,775.13 -0.89%
Real Estate Investment & Services 2,884.58 -0.89%