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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (April 10, 2014)

April 10, 2014, Thursday, 10:26 GMT | 05:26 EST | 13:56 IST | 16:26 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open higher this morning following the performances on Wall Street and in Asia after the US Federal Reserve meeting minutes indicated it may be more accomodative for longer on raising interest rates. Overnight we had domestic news out from the RICS reporting that the number of homes sold in the UK rose to a six year high last month with its house price balance above forecast at +57 with February being revised up slightly to +47. The economic diary today also sees the release of the Bank of England MPC statement, the latest US weekly jobless claims and day 1 of the G7/G20 meetings. Commodity prices are mixed and on the foreign exchanges, the dollar is slightly higher against the pound and euro but weaker against the yen but all are trading within narrow ranges.


Company Announcements

Marks & Spencer

Trading Statement reports that group sales rose 1.9% with UK total sales ahead 1.5% and lfl down 0.2%. Food sales rose 2.5% and lfl +0.1%, general merchandise total sales +0.2% and lfl -0.6% with clothing total sales up 1.3% and lfl +0.6%. M&S.com rose 12.5% and international sales were up 4.7%. It added that it expects full year food gross margin to be slightly ahead of previous guidance but H2 general merchandise gross margin to be down in line with H1. As a result, it now expects full year UK gross margin to be down around 20bps noting that it also remains cautious in its outlook.  

RSA

There has been a take-up of 95.67% for its rights issue.

WH Smith

Interim Results see headline PBT up 3% at GBP70m on group total sales down 4% and lfl sales 4% lower at GBP613m. The interim dividend is raised 15% to 10.8p noting that it is on track for GBP14m of cost savings for the full year.