North West’s stock market value falls 14% to £39bn

The stock market value of North West England’s listed companies was hit by tough trading conditions in the last quarter of 2018 as the value of the 63 public businesses in the region fell 14% to £39 billion, according to Deloitte.

Data from Deloitte’s latest North West Share Index shows the total value of the region’s businesses listed on the FTSE, FTSE Small-Cap and the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) fell by £6.4 billion to £39 billion – down from £45.5 billion in Q3 2018.

This is the first time the value of these businesses has fallen below £40 billion since December 2016, when the value stood at £38.9 billion.

Similar results were seen across the UK as the FTSE All-Share, which includes all listed companies in the UK, suffered an 11% drop in the three months to December 2018.

In particular, the North West’s retail and leisure sectors were affected by low consumer confidence over the Christmas period, with the market value of these businesses falling by 17% and 31% respectively.

Retail, which makes up a large proportion of listed businesses in the North West, saw the most significant setback as the total value fell from £19.4 billion to £16.1 billion in Q4 2018.

Of the 12 listed retailers in the region, only Auto Trader saw its value increase, with its market capitalisation rising 2%.

Only nine of the region’s 63 public businesses grew their stock market value in the last quarter.

This includes the North West’s largest listed business, United Utilities, which added £200 million to its market capitalisation to surpass the £5 billion mark.

The combined value of the 38 AIM-listed businesses in the North West fell from £9 billion to £7.2 billion.

Andy Westbrook, Practice Senior Partner for Deloitte in the North West, said: “As the statistics show, it has been a challenging period for the UK markets, with both consumer and investor confidence being hit by ongoing economic uncertainty.

“Following the high profile collapses of several household names in the latter part of last year, the stats are perhaps.

“However, some businesses have made strong forward steps.

“As the UK’s economic future hopefully becomes clearer in the coming months, we remain optimistic that we will see more of these success stories throughout 2019.”