By Joyce Yu
Philadelphia, PA–Global stocks rose on Monday as fears of an escalating conflict in Syria eased for the moment and investors turn their attention to corporate earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 200 points, and the S&P 500 and the Nasdap climbed more than 0.5%.
Over the past weekend, the U.S. military, in conjunction with France and the U.K., conducted precision missile strikes against the Syrian government as a response to a chemical attack carried out in the country, but it had minimal impact on risk assets. “You’ve also got so much coming out of Washington that makes investors nervous, but not panic unless it’s an immediate threat,” said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank.
Obviously, Wall Street has high expectations for this earnings season, with analysts expecting a 17.3% increase in first-quarter earnings, according to FactSet. But corporate news on Monday is rather mixed with two famous carmakers announcing job cuts.
Jaguar Land Rover , the UK’s biggest auto manufacturer, is cutting 1,000 jobs in its home market as Brexit and slumping sales hit the quintessentially British brand. Owned by India’s Tata Motors, Jaguar Land Rover employs about 40,000 workers in the UK who produce over 500,000 vehicles a year.
The affected factory is located in Birmingham and manufactures the Jaguar F-Pace along with the Land Rover Discovery and various Range Rover models. It said that a sharp decline in British car sales caused by a loss of consumer confidence contributed to the decision. Jaguar Land Rover’s UK sales in March were down 26% compared to the same month last year. Car sales across the industry were down nearly 16%.
With rising inflation, a weak pound, and the Brexit, British people feel their wages squeezed, and are cutting back on big-ticket purchases.
Auto makers are concerned that Brexit could lead to new tariffs, taxes and transit slowdowns at the UK border. Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth said earlier this year in an interview with Reuters that Brexit uncertainly was “really challenging” his company and the auto industry as a whole.
Over in the U.S., GM also announced to cut 1,500 jobs at Ohio plant amid falling demand for small cars.
Sales of the Cruze slid more than 30% between 2014 and 2017, as the market shifted strongly away from small cars to SUVs. Cruze sales have plunged another 26% in the first three months of this year. This takes the factory to operate with just a single shift a day. GM eliminated the third shift at the plant a year ago.