Belfast Telegraph

Markets waiting for detail on Donald Trump's corporate tax cut in US

The FTSE 100 edged higher and the pound was mixed as investors awaited details of Donald Trump's plans for a massive US corporate tax cut.

Sterling was hovering near the flatline against the US dollar at 1.283, but was up 0.5% versus the euro at 1.180.

London's blue chip index, meanwhile, ended the day up 0.18% or 13.08 points at 7,288.72, while the FTSE 250 closed at a fresh record high at 19,678.82 points, up 0.49% on the day.

It comes after Mr Trump's treasury secretary confirmed the US administration will be calling for a massive cut in the corporate tax rate down from 35% to 15%.

"This afternoon's comments from US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin don't appear to add too much detail to what we already know," Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK said.

"He went on to say that further principles would be laid out later today, which suggests that we'll get an aspiration list and that anything tangible will have to wait until much later in the year, meaning that we're not really that much better off than we were 24 hours ago in terms of detail.

"This probably helps explain why European stocks have remained in a holding pattern just below this week's peaks"

Across Europe, the French Cac 40 and German Dax rose 0.19% and 0.05%, respectively.

In oil markets, Brent crude prices rose 0.2% to 52.07 US dollars per barrel (£40.56), after US Energy Department data showed a bigger-than-expected drop in US crude inventories.

In UK stocks, London Stock Exchange Group shares rose 41p to end the day at a record closing high of 3,348p, after it reported a 17% rise in first quarter profit to £409.1 million, and said it was "exploring" new investments just a month after the collapse of the Deutsche Borse merger.

Standard Chartered shares jumped 29.2p to 757.3p after it cheered "good progress" in its turnaround efforts as first quarter pre-tax profits nearly doubled to 990 million US dollars (£772 million) after lower bad debts and cost cutting.

Lloyds Banking Group rose 0.46p to 67.41p despite news it will begin making compensation offers to victims of fraud at the hands of former HBOS staff next month, which could total around £100 million.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) fell 33p to 1,566p despite reporting that total operating profits jumped by £995 million to £1.7 billion in the first quarter, thanks to strong sales of new drugs and a currency boost from the Brexit-hit pound.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) fell 0.7p, to 252.7p following news it could face a parliamentary inquiry into spiralling legal costs, which are set to hit £125 million, used to defending itself and disgraced former boss Fred Goodwin in a case brought by shareholders.

Boohoo shares dropped 4.25p to 185.5p after reporting pre-tax profits rose 97% to £30.9 million in the year to February 28, while revenue also soared 51% to £294.6 million.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Standard Chartered, up 29.2p to 757.3p, Croda International up 138p to 3,797p, Merlin Entertainments up 14.1p to 499.7p, and Hikma Pharmaceuticals up 38p to 1,943p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were GlaxoSmithKline down 33p to 1,566p, GKN down 6.5p to 359.6p, Mediclinic International down 11.5p to 731p, and BT Group down 3.4p to 310.05p.