What's going on?
007’s favorite car brand Aston Martin saw its share price live to Die Another Day on Wednesday, Skyfalling 25% after it announced it’d miss this year’s profit target.
What does this mean?
Over the last six months, Aston Martin’s sales in Europe and the UK (where overall car sales dropped 9%) were almost 20% lower than a year ago. Aston Martin now plans to save money by pumping the brakes on its spending, but it still expects this year’s profit margin to be 40% lower than previously promised.
Maybe the new 007 will choose a set of wheels from Peugeot instead: the French manufacturer reported a record profit for the first half of the year on Wednesday. That was partly thanks to recent purchase Opel-Vauxhall getting stirred into profitability after years of being shaken by losses under US giant General Motors’ ownership.
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: Daimlers aren’t forever.
German carmaker Daimler – in this year’s profit-warning pole position – reported its first quarterly loss in a decade on Wednesday. It’s a casualty of the US-China trade war, which has lowered Chinese demand for its Mercedes-Benz cars. And it may drift for a while yet: the rival Chinese automakers building large stakes in Daimler could make fast decisions a thing of the past. American car firms, meanwhile, aren’t having a much smoother ride – including Tesla which, despite record second-quarter deliveries, has lost its Licence To Kill naysayers.
Zooming out: The manufacturer with the golden gun.
Data released on Wednesday showed manufacturing activity in the eurozone fell to its lowest level in almost seven years this month. And with Nissan now joining Ford in announcing big job cuts, it doesn’t look like it’s going to pick up any time soon. This – plus Tuesday’s downgrade of European growth forecasts by the International Monetary Fund – may turn investors’ attention to the Spectre behind the scenes: the European Central Bank, and any economic support it might announce on Thursday.