StockMarketWire | 24/07/2014 - 21:30
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FTSE indices closed mildly firmer with Reed Elsevier (REL) the torchbearer, followed by a string of financial-sector stocks, as Wall St got off to a tepid start.

At 5 p.m., the FTSE 100 was up 23.31 points, or 0.34%, to 6821.46, and the FTSE 250 was up 22.73 points, or 0.14%, to 15,748.7.

In the US, the Dow was up 19 points to 17,106, the Nasdaq rose 8 points to 4482 and the S&P 500 added 4 points at 1991. In Asia, the Nikkei closed down 45 points at 15,284 and the Hang Seng was up 170 points at 24,142.

A steady-as-she-goes interim report from Reed Elsevier (REL) propelled the academic journals giant to the top of the FTSE 100 leader board, up 4.37% to 980p. It is in line to meet FY views. Analysts questioned its valuation versus Pearson (PSON).

It was followed by a string of financials, among them banks and insurers. HSBC Holdings (HSBA) rose 2.26% to 621p to lead the banks. Aviva (AV.) led the insurers, up 1.1% to 506p.

Miners were up, albeit off the pace. Chilean copper miner Antofagasta (ANTO) gained 1.56% to 847p as upbeat manufacturing data from China gave a lift to industrial metals prices. It was followed by Rio Tinto (RIO), u0p 1.49% to 3441.5p.

SABMiller (SAB) continued to drive strong NPR growth across the businesses in Q1. The company, its shares down 0.76% to 3340p, said this was achieved through its prolonged success in building local and global flagship brands across our broad geographic footprint, together with innovations and improved trade execution. Diageo (DGE) was up a tepid 0.01% to 1824.25p.

Consumer goods giant Unilever (ULVR) lost 0.75% to 2663p as its H1 results statement got the thumbs down. CEO Paul Polman reported healthy underlying sales growth, though operating profits fell 209m euros to 3.4bn euros after a 413m euros currency hit. The boss also flagged a further slowdown in emerging markets, notably Asia, and warned developed markets 'are not yet picking up'. Same-sector rival Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) rose 0.2% to 5135p.

Maple Energy (MPLE) raced up a syrupy 83.33% to 16.5p, off earlier highs, on receiving an approach that may or may not lead to a cash offer. The approach was highly conditional and preliminary in nature.

Energy Technique (ETQ) said in the three months to June 30 sales rose 29% over the corresponding quarter. Its shares rose 21.28% to 285p.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Sales of US new single-family houses in June fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 406,000, estimates issued today showed. This was 8.1% below the revised May rate of 442,000 and 11.5% below the June 2013 estimate of 459,000.

The Markit Flash US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 56.3 in July, down from 57.3 in June. An increase to 57.5 had been forecast.

US initial unemployment claims fell to 284,000 in the week ending 19 July, down 19,000 from the previous week's revised level and the lowest level for initial claims since 18 February 2006 when they were 283,000. A fall to 310,000 had been forecast.

UK retail sales volumes in Q2 rose 1.6% between April and June, compared with the previous three months. They rose 0.1% in June from May, and by 3.6% from the same month a year ago. Forecasts were for respective rise of 0.3% and 3.9%. The FTSE 350 general retailers index was down 1.11%.

Germany's flash manufacturing PMI came in at 52.9 for July, against 52.0 previously and 52.0 expected, Markit data showed. Its flash services PMI came in at 56.6, against 54.6 previously and the 54.5 expected.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Low cost carrier EasyJet (EZJ) fell 4.99% to 1333p after revealing fares pressure. The Luton-based airline’s interim update said extra capacity at Gatwick was to blame, although investors were also unimpressed by a below expectations sales outlook.

Home improvement giant Kingfisher (KGF) slumped 7.49% to 310.85p as a downbeat Q2 trading update drove downgrades. This was the second quarter in a row to flop after its weather-boosted Q1 update disappointed.

Blue tooth semiconductor developer CSR (CSR) fell 8.18% to 308.5p on weak Q2 results. Core camera, gaming and automotive segments have faced struggles, while the company's voice and music revenues faced tough comparatives. Profitability continued to improve, with record underlying gross margins of 57.5% substantially up from last’s year’s 52.6%.

Branded soft drinks business Nichols (NICL:AIM) nudged 6.89% higher to 1000p on H1 results. The figures showed plenty of fizz with pretax profit, stripping out exceptionals, up 11% to £10m and the shareholder reward rises 12% to 7.1p.

Out-of-favour sweeteners giant Tate & Lyle (TATE) soured 0.91% to 656.5p as it flagged a testing Q1. A prolonged winter in the US, the unexpected shut down of its Singaporean 'SPLENDA Sucralose' factory and foreign exchange headwinds were blamed.


By StockMarketWire | 24/07/2014 - 11:51

FTSE indices were up albeit with little momentum following a string of underwhelming blue-chip news, which retarded gains as UK retail sales data failed to inspire sector gains.

Near noon, the FTSE 100 was up 7.04 points, or 0.1%, to 6805.19, and the FTSE 250 was up 7.07 points, or 0.04%, to 15,733.0.

In the US at night, the Dow fell 27 points to 17,087, the Nasdaq rose 18 points to 4474 and the S&P 500 added 3 points at 1987. In Asia, the Nikkei closed down 45 points at 15,284 and the Hang Seng was up 170 points at 24,142.

A steady-as-she-goes interim report from Reed Elsevier (REL) propelled the academic journals giant to the top of the FTSE 100 leader board, up 4.82% to 984.25p. It reported was in line to meet FY expectations. Analysts questioned its valuation versus publishing peer Pearson (PSON).

It was followed by a string of financials, among them banks and insurers. HSBC Holdings (HSBA) rose 2.08% to 619.95p to lead the banks, while Old Mutual (OML) topped the insurers with a 0.77% rise to 201.65p.

SABMiller (SAB) continued to drive strong NPR growth across the businesses in Q1. The company, its shares down 0.46% to 3350p, said this was achieved through its prolonged success in building local and global flagship brands across our broad geographic footprint, together with innovations and improved trade execution. Diageo (DGE) was up a tepid 0.07% to 1825.25p.

Consumer goods giant Unilever (ULVR) lost 0.43% to 2671.5p as its H1 results statement got the thumbs down. CEO Paul Polman reported healthy underlying sales growth, though operating profits fell 209m euros to 3.4bn euros after a 413m euros currency hit. The boss also flagged a further slowdown in emerging markets, notably Asia and warnd developed markets 'are not yet picking up'. Same-sector rival Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) fell 0.05% to 5122.5p.

Budget airline easyJet fell 57.5p to 1,345.5p after revenue per seat grew by 2.7% at constant currency or by 1.7% on a reported basis to £62.47 per seat in the quarter to end-June, despite a less benign capacity environment and a significant increase in easyJet capacity at Gatwick. The impact from the situations in Israel, Egypt and Moscow resulted in lower pretax profit guidance for the year to a range of £545m to £570m.

Resources eased. Miners were led down by Fresnillo (FRES), while the energy outfits trailed lower behind Petrofac (PFC). Chilean copper miner Antofagasta (ANTO) gained 0,75% to 840.25p as upbeat manufacturing data from China gave a lift to industrial metals prices .

Maple Energy (MPLE) raced up a syrupy 88.89% to 17p on receiving an approach that may or may not lead to a cash offer. It told shareholders the approach was highly conditional and preliminary in nature.

ECONOMIC NEWS

UK retail sales volumes in Q2 rose 1.6% between April and June, compared with the previous three months. They rose 0.1% in June from May, and by 3.6% from the same month a year ago. Forecasts were for respective rise of 0.3% and 3.9%. The FTSE 350 general retailers index was down 1.11%.

Germany's flash manufacturing PMI came in at 52.9 for July, against 52.0 previously and 52.0 expected, Markit data showed. Its flash services PMI came in at 56.6, against 54.6 previously and the 54.5 expected.

France's flash manufacturing PMI came in at 47.6 for July, against 48.2 previously and 48.1 expected by the market. France's services PMI for July was 50.4, against 48.2 previously and 48.4 expected.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Low cost carrier EasyJet (EZJ) fell 4.38% to 1341.5p after revealing fares pressure. The Luton-based airline’s interim update said extra capacity at Gatwick was to blame, although investors were also unimpressed by a below expectations sales outlook.

Home improvement giant Kingfisher (KGF) slumped 7.49% to 310.85p as a downbeat Q2 trading update drove downgrades. This was the second quarter in a row to flop after its weather-boosted Q1 update disappointed.

Blue tooth semiconductor developer CSR (CSR) fell 2.74% to 567p on weak Q2 results. Core camera, gaming and automotive segments have faced struggles, while the company's voice and music revenues faced tough comparatives. Profitability continued to improve, with record underlying gross margins of 57.5% substantially up from last’s year’s 52.6%.

Branded soft drinks business Nichols (NICL:AIM) nudged 2.73% higher to 961p on H1 results. The figures showed plenty of fizz with pretax profit, stripping out exceptionals, up 11% to £10m and the shareholder reward rises 12% to 7.1p.

Out-of-favour sweeteners giant Tate & Lyle (TATE) soured 0.53% to 659p as it flagged a testing Q1. A prolonged winter in the US, the unexpected shut down of its Singaporean 'SPLENDA Sucralose' factory and foreign exchange headwinds were blamed.


By StockMarketWire | 24/07/2014 - 08:41

MORNING REPORT: The headline index were firmly lower in early deals today, on concerns over Ukraine and Gaza, and following a raft of disappointing blue chip news, with Kingfisher taking the wooden spoon...

In early trade, the FTSE100 was down 22.02 points at 6,776.13 and the FTSE250 off 44.44 points at 15,681.52.

US & ASIA

In the US at night, the Dow fell 27 points to 17,087, the Nasdaq rose 18 points to 4,474 and the S&P 500 added 3 points at 1,987.

In Asia today, the Nikkei closed down 44 points at 15,284 and the Hang Seng was up 136 points at 24,108.

LONDON MARKETS

Budget airline easyJet fell 57.5p to 1,345.5p this morning after it said revenue per seat grew by 2.7% at constant currency or by 1.7% on a reported basis to £62.47 per seat in the quarter to end-June, despite a less benign capacity environment and a significant increase in easyJet capacity at Gatwick. The impact from the situations in Israel, Egypt and Moscow resulted in lower pretax profit guidance for the year to a range of £545m to £570m.

Household goods maker Unilever dropped 57p to 2,626p on reporting underlying sales growth of 3.7% in the first half-year, with emerging markets up just 6.6%, missing expectations. Operating profit was up 13% in the period at €4.4bn, reflecting profits on disposals.

DIY retail specialist Kingfisher slipped 23.85p to 312.15p on revealing B&Q total sales were down 2.5% (-3.2% LFL), up 4.3% year to date (+3.6% LFL). In Q2 sales of outdoor and seasonal products were down almost 8%, representing around 35% of total sales.

Mall owner Hammerson eased 6.25p to 60.75p, despite reporting an encouraging first half with strong demand for high-quality retail property. Like-for-like net rental income rose by 1.5% to £146.9m and EPRA earnings per share were up 4.5% at 11.6p.

Food ingredients company Tate & Lyle dropped 15p to 647.5p as the group's full year performance, before the impact of exchange rate movements, is expected to be broadly in line with previous guidance.

Chilean copper miner gained 8.5p at 842.5p as upbeat manufacturing data from China gave a lift to industrial metals prices and Jefferies International upgraded the stock to buy from hold. Glencore Xstrata added 0.75p at 373.75p after receiving the same treatment.

Global information company Reed Elsevier rose 20.5p to 959.5p as it reported in-line underlying revenue growth of 4% in the half-year to end-June, totalling £2,847m or €3,473m.

Global brewer SABMiller added 3p at 3,368.5p after it said it continued to drive strong NPR growth across the businesses in the first quarter, with underlying revenues increasing.


By StockMarketWire | 24/07/2014 - 06:33

PRE-OPEN REPORT: The headline index is tipped to open flat to slightly lower this morning, according to financial websites, following a lacklustre showing on Wall Street and concerns over Ukraine...

US & ASIA

In the US at night, the Dow fell 27 points to 17,087, the Nasdaq rose 18 points to 4,474 and the S&P 500 added 3 points at 1,987.

In Asia today, the Nikkei was recently down 63 points at 15,266 and the Hang Seng up 93 points at 24,065.

WTI crude oil traded at $103.12 a barrel and Brent at $108.03.

Gold settled at $1,304 an ounce.

LONDON MARKETS

In a busy corporate diary today, interim results are due from CSR, Hammerson, Howden Joinery Group, Lancashire Holdings Limited, Nichols, Rathbone Brothers, Reed Elsevier, Sagentia Group and Unilever.

Trading statements are expected from Britvic, Close Brothers Group, easyJet, Electrocomponents, Halma, Kingfisher, Marston's, Reed Elsevier, SABMiller and Tate & Lyle.

Amedeo Resources, Astar Minerals, Camper & Nicholsons Marina Investments, Capital Management & Investment, Cyprotex, De La Rue, Dee Valley Group, Electrocomponents, Energy Technique, F&C Global Smaller Companies, Fuller Smith & Turner, Halma, NB Distressed Debt Investment Fund, Personal Assets Trust, Phorm Corporation, Record, Royal Mail, SABMiller, Securities Trust of Scotland, Tate & Lyle, Tau Capital, Triple Point VCTs and Vertu Motors host their AGMs.