Hopes for a Santa rally and Ted Baker slips up yet again

“The FTSE 100 started December on the front foot, raising hopes that there could be a so-called ‘Santa Rally’ in stocks to round off the year.

“The catalyst this morning is a strong set of manufacturing figures from China which beat expectations. The Chinese data is one of a series of global PMI releases due this week which will provide insight into the health of the world economy heading into 2020.

“While the FTSE 100 looks on course to finish materially higher for the year, barring anything dramatic, it is being left in the shade by US indices which are marking new record highs.

“The still uncertain outcome of the UK General Election on 12 December could also be an obstacle to a Christmas surge for UK shares,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.

Ted Baker

“Amid all the chaos around inappropriate behaviour from its founder Ray Kelvin and the subsequent profit warnings around margin pressures, tough competition and weak consumer spending, it now appears that Ted Baker has found another banana to slip up on.

“Discovering that the value of inventory on its balance sheet has been overstated is a huge blunder on its behalf. It suggests that the business hasn’t got a grip on its numbers which is a bit worrying considering that new chief executive Lindsay Page used to be the finance director.

“New finance boss Rachel Osborne joined last month and appears to be wasting no time trying to see if the company is match-fit.

“Appointing a law firm and the intention to bring in independent accountants will raise questions about whether more serious problems are bubbling under the surface at the business.

Ted Baker’s refusal to comment further will no doubt lead to increased speculation over what might have gone wrong with the company.

“It is clearly going to be an uncomfortable time for the business, unfortunately just at the point when it needs to be focused on Christmas sales and trying to make up for disappointing trading earlier this year.”

These articles are for information purposes only and are not a personal recommendation or advice.

The daily market update is written by Russ Mould, AJ Bell’s Investment Director and his team. The article highlights the movement in the main index, winners and losers on the day and any macro-economic announcements.

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