What to Watch: Aston Martin losses deepen, GDP slump, TUI job cuts

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
·3 min read
The Prince of Wales places a logo on the new Aston Martin DBX at the new Aston Martin Lagonda factory in Barry, Wales.
The Prince of Wales places a logo on the new Aston Martin DBX at the new Aston Martin Lagonda factory in Barry, Wales.

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Aston Martin Lagonda shares sink as losses deepen

Shares in Aston Martin Lagonda (AML.L) shares slid more than 7% on Wednesday after the luxury carmaker revealed its sales had almost halved in the first three months of the year.

The company’s first quarter results showed 578 vehicle sales, down from 1,057 a year earlier. Its pre-tax losses deepened from £17.3m ($21.3m) in the first quarter of 2019 to £118.9m ($146.1m) this year. Revenue was down 60% to £78.6m ($96.6m).

“COVID-19 and the resulting global economic shutdown has had a material impact on our performance this quarter,” said Andy Palmer, president and group chief executive.

But the carmaker highlighted tentative steps towards recovery, despite most of its staff remaining on furlough. Its 18 dealerships in China have all reopened, and it restarted production of its first luxury SUV in the UK on Monday.

Record slump in UK GDP as lockdown began

UK economic output declined by 2% in the first three months of 2020, its fastest quarterly contraction since the 2008 financial crisis, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The quarter-on-quarter contraction in gross domestic product (GDP), which was slightly better than the 2.5% analysts had forecast, demonstrates the first direct effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, when the UK-wide lockdown was first implemented, GDP fell by 5.8% compared to February, the largest monthly contraction since 1997, when such records began.

TUI to axe 8,000 jobs as tourism industry faces ‘greatest crisis

Travel operator TUI (TUI.L) said on Wednesday that it could be forced to axe up to 8,000 jobs worldwide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said that it was hoping to permanently reduce its cost base by 30% across the entire group, noting that it would be “stronger, much leaner and more flexible” after the pandemic.

TUI said that the job cuts would come from both redundancies and an overall reduction in recruitment.

“The tourism industry has weathered a number of macroeconomic shocks throughout the most recent decades. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is unquestionably the greatest crisis the industry and TUI has ever faced,” it said in a statement.

European stocks fall on economic woes and second wave fears

European stocks fell on Wednesday as investors assessed stark economic data from the UK and growing fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections on the continent.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) fell by more than 1.6%. London’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was down by around 1.1%.

Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) declined by around 2%, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was more than 1.9% in the red.

The losses in Europe followed a mixed trading session in Asia. hina’s SSE Composite Index (^SSEC) rose by more than 0.2% on Wednesday. The Hang Seng (^HSI) was down by 0.15% in Hong Kong at market close.

Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) closed almost 0.5% in the red, while the KOSPI Composite Index (^KOSPI) in South Korea rose by more than 0.9%. Australia’s ASX 200 (^AXJO) rose by more than 0.3%.

What to expect in the US

Futures were pointing to a mixed open for US stocks on Wednesday.

S&P 500 futures (ES=F) were marginally in the red, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) were up by less than 0.1%. Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were 0.16 in the green%.