US Interest Rates On The Climb

Interest Rate Hike interest rates
  • Tax Year ends at midnight!
  • Fed Official calls for US rates to stay high for longer
  • AstraZeneca hails cancer breakthrough
  • Sterling eases off highs
  • The trading statement that never was…

UK’s Tax Year Ends At Midnight

“Early April? It must be tax year end once again! Midnight tonight sees the end of the current tax year. This is the last moment when Brits can take advantage of their annual tax allowances. People can save up to £20,000 a year into their ISA accounts and, once there, the money invested will be free of income tax and capital gains tax.

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Q1 2023 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The Budget also saw big changes to pension rules and many Brits can now put as much as £60,000 a year into their SIPPs. Tax rebates on contributions mean that for a basic rate taxpayer, adding £10k to their pension only costs them £8,000.

Higher tax rates mean higher tax rebates and, for a higher rate tax payer, adding £60,000 can cost just £36,000. Time is running out to take advantage of these tax breaks, but Hargreaves Lansdown will be manning the phone lines until midnight.

Fed Official Calls For US Interest Rates To Stay High For Longer

US interest rates could be going higher and staying there. Loretta Mester, President of the Cleveland branch of the US Federal Reserve, has called for the Fed to push rates above 5% and hold them there to fight inflation. Ms. Mester says that the Fed needs to keep US interest rates above the rate of inflation for some time if it is to bring inflation back down to 2% and keep it low.

She sees US inflation dropping back to 3.75% by year-end as earlier price rises drop out of the year-on-year rate. But rates above that level need to remain in place to push inflation decisively back toward target.

Astrazeneca Hails Cancer Breakthrough

AstraZeneca plc (LON:AZN), the global drug giant that traces its roots back to Imperial Chemical Industries, has announced positive results in a drug trial targeting better outcomes for ovarian cancer patients. The disease is all too often diagnosed at an advanced stage and most of these patients die within five years of diagnosis.

Today’s trial results showed a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression free survival for patients treated with AstraZeneca’s Lynparza drug in combination with chemotherapy and other existing treatments.

The trial is still underway and full data will not be available for some time. Susan Galbraith from AstraZeneca’s Oncology team hailed the encouraging evidence emerging from the trial data.

Sterling Eases Off Highs

Sterling is easing back from yesterday’s highs, which saw the currency briefly rise above $1.25 for the first time since June last year. Good news for holidaymakers heading to the States, but anyone thinking of Summer by the Med should curb their enthusiasm, since Sterling’s rally has been all about a weakening dollar. The pound remains languishing at around €1.14

The Trading Statement That Never Was…

Unscheduled trading updates from businesses rarely bring good news and are seized upon urgently when they emerge. So, there must have been a fair few analysts and traders spluttering over their coffee when housebuilder Barratt Developments PLC (LON:BDEV) released an unexpected Trading Statement over the newswires at 7:00 am this morning.

Their pulses need not have raced, for someone had simply added the wrong headline to a completely routine notice of an earlier share buyback. Just as well that the market itself does not open for trading until 08:00am.”

Article by Steve Clayton, head of equity funds, Hargreaves Lansdown