Market Prognosis

A concise summary of the major macro events of the past 24 hours, and selected UK company-specific news.

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March 19, 2024

Japan raises rates

Macro

Japan has increased its policy guidance on interest rates for the first time since 2007. At the same time, the BoJ has ended its yield curve control policy. However, the central bank has also pledged to maintain easy financial conditions. It said it will be data-dependent on future policy changes, suggesting that this is not the start of a series of rate hikes. The chart below shows Japan’s policy rates for the past decade.

Screenshot 2024-03-19 084854

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia has maintained its policy rate.

The dollar has strengthened while most commodities, precious metals and crypto prices eased.

UK Companies

Unilever is planning to spin off its ice cream business to accelerate the implementation of its Growth Acceleration Plan. 

XP Factory continued to produce strong results with its experiential leisure concepts, including Escape Hunt and Boom Battle Bar. 

MPAC, the automation packaging specialist, has issued strong FY23A results aligned with expectations. It added that a strong closing order book and pipeline provide good revenue coverage for 2024.  

DFS warned that market demand had weakened significantly over the last two months, with market order volumes down 16% in January and February. It also said continuing Red Sea issues could result in further profit deferral.  

Trustpilot reported results as expected but with an improved outlook statement.

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