• The FTSE 100 closed on Friday at 7,502.2, up 134 points on a week earlier, and 446 points higher than at the start of April. The 10 year gilt yield hardened from the week’s high of 1.57% to a close at 1.44% on Friday. 
  • UK GDP growth for Q1 was reported at a less-then-expected 0.1% - the slowest rate of growth since Q4 2012. This was mostly due to falling output for the construction sector. 
  • Amazon is developing a domestic robot, and plans to begin testing in employees’ homes later this year. Shares in the maker of the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner, iRobot Corp, fell on the news. 
  • Bar Cargolift, a German vehicle tail-lift manufacturer, is relaunching its UK operation after cutting back on its presence in 2009.

Chief Economist comments: 

The disappointing UK GDP figures make a base rate rise in May unlikely, and reduce the chances of a second hike this year. August now seems a more likely choice for the next increase, as the MPC will have sight of the Q2 GDP numbers. Waiting until the summer will also allow some more time for the Brexit political theatre to play out. Weak GDP may encourage a reality check amongst the politicians as we approach decision time on whether the UK stays in the customs union. Less Brexit uncertainty would provide a good backdrop for the next interest rate rise.