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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (April 16, 2014)

April 16, 2014, Wednesday, 07:41 GMT | 03:41 EST | 12:11 IST | 14:41 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open higher this morning following the overnight performances on Wall Street and in Asia with the latter underpinned by economic data out of China showing that Q1 GDP grew in line at 7.4% on year although industrial production came in below expectations at 8.8% on year. Market attention will now focus on the release of domestic unemployment data and the average earnings index followed by US building permit figures and another speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Commodity prices are mixed and on the foreign exchanges, the pound is slightly weaker against both the dollar and the euro but all are trading within narrow ranges ahead of these further data announcements and Yellen's speech.

Company Announcements


Final Results see group trading profit down 6% at GBP3.3bn, impacted by a weakening UK grocery market in H2 and challenging overseas trading conditions. Underlying PBT declined by 6.9% to GBP3.05bn with group PBT of GBP2.25bn after one-off charges amounting to GBP801m. Group sales including VAT rose by 0.3% to GBP70.9bn and at constant exchange rates, sales were 0.2% lower (including petrol) and up by 0.4% (excluding petrol). The full year dividend is 14.76p adding that it expects the challenging consumer environment, competitive intensity and rapid pace of change in retailing to continue in 2014/15.


IMS reports that the new financial year has started well with current total forward sales of GBP1.87bn in 2014. Total forward sales revenue is 35% higher than in 2013 and it has around 7,200 new homes sold forward into the private market, 38% ahead of the same period last year with an average selling price of about GBP200,400, c3% higher. Subject to shareholder approval at the AGM, the second payment of its capital return of 70p per share or cGBP213m will be paid on 4 July 2014.


H2 Trading Update reports that total revenue rose 19% to GBP1.29bn with retail sales ahead 13% at GBP928m. It noted that whilst current exchange rates are a material headwind and an adverse impact on reported profit in what remains an uncertain macro environment, its continued global brand momentum provides it with an excellent foundation for the future.