• UK stock market morning note (September 17, 2015)

    The FTSE 100 is called to open higher this morning on the back of the overnight performances on Wall Street and in Asia with investors focusing on the outcome of the US Federal Reserve meeting on interest rates which will be announced at 7.00pm UK time. The economic diary today also sees the release of domestic retail sales data, US building permit figures, the latest US weekly jobless claims and the Philly Fed manufacturing index reading. Commodity prices are mixed and on the foreign exchanges, the major currencies are all trading within narrow ranges ahead of these data releases and Janet Yellen's evening press conference following the FOMC decision.

    Company Announcements

    Kier Group

    Preliminary Results from the residential, construction and services group sees revenue including JVs' up 14% at 3.4bn and +12% lfl reflecting strong organic growth in all divisions with underlying PBT ahead 17% at 85.9m. The proposed full year dividend is raised 20% to 47.3m but due to the increased number of shares post its rights issue the dividend is down 4% at 55.2p. It noted the solid growth performance and increased profitability with economic confidence returning to its core markets and the acquisition of Mouchel being a a major step in accelerating its five-year strategy. It added that with a 3.9bn order book, strong Balance Sheet and continued progress on its Vision 2020 goals this year, it looked forward to the future with confidence.

    Merlin Entertainments

    Trading Statement reports that the business has traded in line with revised expectations over the summer period with year to date constant currency revenue growth of 3.8% and lfl revenue growth of 0.3%. At actual exchange rates, total revenue growth year to date was 2.2%, reflecting mainly the strength of sterling against the euro. It continues to expect 2015 underlying PBT to be broadly in line with last year. Performance of LEGOLAND remained strong offset by the impact of reduced visits across the Resort Theme Parks mainly at Alton Towers following the accident in June. Based upon summer trading and forward bookings, Resort Theme Parks EBITDA is now expected to be in the lower part of the guided range of 40m-50m in 2015. It added that whilst difficult to assess at this stage, it continues to believe that there may be an ongoing adverse impact on the Resort Theme Parks operating group profitability in 2016.

    Contributed by SVS Securities
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