Ryanair shares are down by 3.4%, after profits for its last financial year fell by 30%.
The budget airline predicted another slide in profits in the current year, as air fares fell on the back of Brexit uncertainty and fierce competition in Europe, writes the Guardian’s Julia Kollewe.
Michael O’Leary, the Ryanair chief executive, said fares would continue to fall in the UK and Germany, pointing to consumer nervousness about Brexit. “There is a later booking pattern and we’re having to stimulate bookings with lower air fares,” he said.
Profits were also dragged down by higher fuel costs and cabin crew strikes last summer. Ryanair’s staff bill rose by €200m, including a 20% pay increase for pilots.
You can read more on Ryanair’s troubles here:
It looks like that retreat in oil price futures is starting to tell on the FTSE 100. Brent futures are still up by 0.4% for the day, but are now trading at $72.50 per barrel, after earlier hitting $73.40.
The FTSE 100 has rapidly dropped back; there are now no companies up by more than 1%, and the broader index is down by 0.6%.
Huawei has broken cover – with some reassurance for owners of its devices.
Huawei said it would continue to provide security updates and services for its smartphones and tablets after Google said it would comply with an order barring the Chinese company from updates to its Android operating system, Reuters reports.
“We have made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world,” a spokesman said on Monday.
Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.
We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.
Stock markets have not built up much momentum at the start of the week, with major European companies mainly flat.
The Stoxx 600 index, which tracks share prices across Europe’s main markets, was flat as we approached mid-morning.
London’s FTSE 100 is now down by about 0.2%, with oil companies helping to sustain the index.
Brent crude oil futures retreated slightly after earlier highs, dropping back below $72 per barrel, although prices are still up by 0.5% for the day.
The Greenpeace activists blockading the BP offices are trying to keep the building closed for the next seven days.
You can read more detail on the blockade here:
All is not well in London’s property market (for owners, at least). Activity was at a record low in the first quarter of the year, according to listed estate agent Foxtons. They blamed Brexit for the downturn.
Foxtons’ group revenue for the first quarter of 2019 was £23.8m, compared to £24.5m in the first quarter of last year, it reported on Monday.
While the results were in line with expectations, the company gave little sign that it expects a pick-up any time soon. In its trading statement Foxtons said:
Revenue in the sales business declined as conditions in the London property market remain very challenging. Sales volumes continue to be at record low levels and ongoing Brexit uncertainty is impacting consumer confidence.
There’s a notable move in the Australian dollar this morning, up by 0.9% against the US dollar.
Australia went to the polls on Saturday, with a surprise win for the ruling Liberal National Coalition, which proposed sweeping tax cuts which are expected to raise economic growth.
Fritz Louw, a currency analyst at MUFG, said:
That PM Scott Morrison took the proposed tax cuts to the election could indicate a mandate to pass it through the senate where the government does not have a majority.
Equities had mixed fortunes this morning – but we have had another big reminder of the trade tensions which roiled stock markets last week.
Google has suspended Huawei’s access to updates of its Android operating system and chipmakers have reportedly cut off supplies to the Chinese telecoms company, complying with orders from the US government as it seeks to blacklist Huawei around the world, write the Guardian’s Nadeem Badshah and Lily Kuo.
Current owners of Huawei devices will still be able to use Google apps, but the next generation of devices could be affected.
Huawei has taken a central role in the dispute between US President Donald Trump and China, after the company – which is a leader in network equipment as well as consumer devices – was banned from critical applications by the security services of several countries. Notably, the UK was not one of them.
You can read a lot more detail (on a story which will run and run) here:
Activists at Greenpeace UK appear to have blockaded BP’s London headquarters, saying that “business as usual is just not an option”.
The protestors have put themselves in heavy containers blocking the entrances to the offices in St James’s Square, according to tweets from Greenpeace.
BP has come under sustained pressure from campaign groups and investors to explain how it will decarbonise.
“They are fuelling a #ClimateEmergency that threatens millions of lives. BP must clean up or clear out”, Greenpeace wrote.
Other airlines have caught a cold from Ryanair: Easyjet and International Consolidated Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways, are the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 in early trading.
Easyjet lost 2.2%, while IAG lost 1.5%. Travel company Tui lost 1%.
The broader FTSE 100 index edged up in the first 10 minutes of trading, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 has lost about 0.2%.
Ryanair reports weakest profits in four years
Irish budget airline Ryanair on Monday reported its weakest annual profit in four years, amid intense competition on fares.
After tax profits (excluding some exceptional items) fell to €1.02bn (£900m) for its financial year to 31 March, down from €1.45bn the previous year.
Shares fell by 5% at the start of trading.
The airline’s outspoken chief executive, Michael O’Leary, blamed “attritional fare wars” for the weakness.
“Frankly, if we are in a period where there are going to be attritional fare wars… profits will suffer for a year or two and I think that is what shareholders should expect,” O’Leary said in a video presentation.
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Oil prices have rallied at the start of the week on a familiar script: sustained production cuts from the Opec cartel and some threatening tweets from the world’s most powerful man.
Brent crude futures prices earlier hit $73.40 per barrel, the highest since April 26, and was up by 1.4% for the morning at the time of writing.
Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday there was consensus among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied oil producers to drive down crude inventories “gently” but he would remain responsive to the needs of a “fragile market”. Saudi oil tankers were last week attacked.
United Arab Emirates energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei earlier told reporters that relaxing supply cuts was not the right decision.
Prices look “well supported” at current levels, said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group.
Oil has already rallied around 40% since the start of the year, thanks mainly to OPEC limiting supply. Investors had been growing nervous that OPEC could look to remove the production limits at its next meeting in June, in light of tightening global supply and elevated prices.
US President Donald Trump added fuel to the fire, threatening Iran on Twitter. Some analysts say that John Bolton, his hawkish national security adviser, may have a hand in the increasingly bellicose tone towards the Middle Eastern state.
Elsewhere, economists had expected Japan to be in a recession in the first quarter. But the consensus forecast of 0.1% quarter-on-quarter growth was way out – in fact, it came in at 0.5%. However, economists warned that the underlying picture was still less than stellar, with the headline figure boosted by a fall in imports.
- 9am BST: Eurozone current account (March)
- 9am BST: Speech by Peter Praet, chief economist at the European Central Bank
- 5:30pm: Speech by Ben Broadbent, deputy governor of the Bank of England