City Watch: Brian Tora reflects on ‘Black Friday and ‘Cyber Monday’

Brian Tora of J M Finn & Co

Brian Tora of J M Finn & Co - Credit: Archant

Last week was quiet in market terms, with the US shut down on Thursday for Thanksgiving, a holiday that also restricts trading on the following Friday to just half a day.

That day has become known as “Black Friday”, not for any sinister reason but because it marks the start of the Christmas shopping season and is reputably the day retailers move into the black.

Interestingly, yesterday has also gained something of a reputation in the world of shopping. I have heard it referred to as “Cyber Monday”, because it is expected to see the maximum number of transactions over the internet as people order Christmas presents.

Given the increase in popularity of shopping over the internet, perhaps we should not have been surprised at the alacrity with which Royal Mail shares were lapped up.

But internet shopping does have its downside, as a tour around Britain’s high streets will demonstrate. The change in our shopping habits has already brought about the collapse of a number of retailers and finding ways of revitalising our town centres is becoming something of a priority. Still, the extent to which consumers signal confidence in our economic recovery by sticking their hands in their wallets may have implications for the market, so we need to watch these spending figures.

It will be the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement that will be of most interest this week, though. From simply being an indication of how things are going on the financial front, this important announcement has gradually taken on almost Budget-like significance.

We can expect measures both to reflect the improving economic picture and the need to collect as much tax as possible. Those with buy to let properties are rumoured to be in the firing line.

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December is a good month for investors in general. In the US it is reckoned that there is an 80% chance of shares rising ? the so-called Santa Rally. In part this reflects year-end window dressing. Perhaps this year it will be down to a return of the feelgood factor as well.

: : Brian Tora is an associate with investment managers JM Finn & Co.

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