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Darktrace to be acquired by US private equity firm as FTSE 100 rallies

 

Green and Pleasant Land? FTSE 100 Index Books New High

Something has come loose in the UK market — like a hose pipe that was blocked up suddenly gushing forth. Another deal was announced today for cybersecurity firm Darktrace and another record high for the FTSE 100 index. Nick Train suggested a transformative deal could unleash pent-up demand for UK stocks and close the valuation gap – maybe BHP’s move on Anglo-American is just such a deal.

The FTSE 100 index rose to a new intraday high of 8,139.92 this morning as European indices were broadly higher on some better news from US tech giants Microsoft and Alphabet.

But it’s the same story; an undervalued UK asset is being taken out. Darktrace is to go private. The company has not been happy about being listed in London. "Darktrace's operating and financial achievements have not been reflected commensurately in its valuation with shares trading at a significant discount to its global peer group,” management said.

US private equity group Thoma Bravo is paying 620p in cash for Darktrace — a 20% premium on last night’s closing share price of 517p. Darktrace shares are up close to 17.5% on the news, trading at 607.20p around midday on April 26.

Darktrace shares have gained over 65% year-to-date so far and are up 116.8% on a 12-month basis.

And on the BHP acquisition – Anglo has rejected the offer saying it “significantly undervalues” the business and would be “highly unattractive” to shareholders. Of course, it did – they always do. Shares fell a measly 1% to £25.34 — this is far from over.

 

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Bank of Japan Digs in Heels

The Bank of Japan knows how to disappoint. It stuck to its guns and failed to offer any real guidance on the path of future rate hikes – hardly shock and awe stuff. Consumer price inflation data from the Tokyo area came in softer than expected, notching a notable deceleration in April.

The Japanese yen declined further with USDJPY above 156 now. Where is this “line in the sand”?

 

Bank of Japan Digs in Heels

 

Stagflation? What’s Next?

Yesterday’s GDP report from the US was messy. Growth slowed more than expected, but inflation was hotter than forecast. GDP expanded 1.6% in the first quarter, well below the 2.4% anticipated. Core PCE accelerated to 3.7%.

The quarterly core PCE implies a m/m rise of 50 bps to be reported today. That is well above the 0.3 expected and could call for Jay Powell to sound more hawkish next week. The market shifted its full cut from Nov to Dec and the likelihood of the Fed leaving rates unchanged this year has risen to 20%. Yields popped higher with the US 10-year north of 4.7% for the first time since early November.

Was that really a stagflation report? The big question is what does it mean and what does the Fed do with it? 

New podcast out now – does geopolitics really matter to markets?

 

US Stocks Stumble, S&P 500 Declines

Stocks fell with the S&P 500 down half a per cent, weighed also by a 10% drop for Meta. Meanwhile Alphabet shares shot 10% higher overnight and Microsoft was up 4% in after-hours trading following earnings – these are big, big moves for trillion-dollar stocks.

We are definitely at a point where the AI stuff is proving hard to value because the earnings profiles are becoming more uncertain.

 

Interest Rate Cuts Closer Than Anticipated?

Soft GDP suggests rate cuts are back on, but hot inflation and employment market data suggest otherwise — today’s faster PCE data will be eyed with laser focus. And it seems to be the inflation reignition that has caught the market’s attention more than the softness in the growth figures.

In the near-term it’s unclear – bulls and bears alike can take something from it – we need to hear from the Fed. Higher inflation per unit of growth takes the goldilocks soft landing scenario off the table – the Fed will have to make a decision. It’s also a fact now that the 6% budget deficit in the US is all that is keeping the economy afloat.

 Growth was down to its weakest in two years.

Soft GDP suggests rate cuts

Core PCE reaccelerates:

Core PCE reaccelerates

 


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