IPO frenzy stateside, no-deal Brexit preparations ramp

Shares in Airbnb surged on debut, closing above $144 on their first day of trading after listing at $68. The more-than-doubling in the share price reflects huge investor interest, particularly in the retail space, as well as significant excess liquidity that is finding a home wherever it can. There is a strong fear of missing out on these mega IPOs, and investors seem very willing to discard usual valuation sensibilities to get on board. DoorDash only slipped by 1.8% on its second day of trading after soaring on its debut the day before. With a market cap of $68bn for Airbnb let’s just not talk about valuation and earnings multiples.

 

Preparedness for a no-deal Brexit is now the order of the day as both the EU and UK are talking impasse. Sunday’s deadline may be like all the rest (and be pointless) but there are only 3 weeks until January 1st so time really is running out. Sterling has been relatively unscathed so far but this morning GBPUSD broke down at the week lows at 1.32250 this morning to hit its weakest in almost a month. No deal risks are rising so the market is trying to price it – the problem is the binary nature of the outcome which leave the market only able to guess at fair value.

 

Yesterday, the European Central Bank (ECB) conformed to expectations by expanding its emergency asset purchase programme by an additional €500bn and extended the duration of the scheme to March 2022. Christine Lagarde suggested that the €1.85bn package would not be used fully used, which brought the ceiling vs target debate back into play. At the same time, EU leaders passed the €1.8tn budget after Hungary and Poland dropped their objections, paving the way for payments to be made next year. Meanwhile, US CPI inflation rose a little faster than expected in November and initial jobless claims were worse than expected, hitting 853k vs the 725k forecast. It points to weakness in the economy as cases have risen in recent weeks, eroding confidence in the recovery without a stimulus plan on hand to bridge the gap until vaccines are rolled out en masse.

 

European markets traded a little weaker early on Friday, with the major bourses down around 1% following on from a softer session on Wall Street that left the S&P 500 and Dow Jones lower but the Nasdaq rose a touch. No-deal Brexit fears are probably taking the shine off European equities, whilst there has been any significant catalyst from the US as lawmakers continue to discuss stimulus without getting a deal over the line. 

 

Chart: FTSE 100 lower, 6520 is the key support level 

FTSE 100 lower, 6520 is the key support level