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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (April 17, 2014)

April 17, 2014, Thursday, 09:55 GMT | 04:55 EST | 13:25 IST | 15:55 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open flat this morning despite the positive performance overnight on Wall Street with Asia more subdued, the former helped by US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's reaffirmation to keep US interest rates low with investors also mindful of the ongoing Ukraine situation and the forthcoming Easter break. The economic diary today sees the release of the latest US weekly jobless claims and the Philly Fed manufacturing index. Commodity prices are mixed and on the foreign exchanges, the dollar is weaker against the pound, euro and yen but all are within narrow trading ranges.


Company Announcements

Diageo

IMS reports that organic net sales rose 0.3% in the 9 months to end March 2014 but in the quarter organic net sales fell 1.3%. It has updated its guidance on the adverse impact which exchange rate movements will have on operating profit before exceptionals for the year to end June 2014 and this is expected to be GBP330m. It noted the challenging environment it was operating in with consumers in North America most resilient, Western Europe improving slowly but currency volatility and caution about the GDP outlook is negatively impacting business and consumer confidence in its emerging markets. It added that whilst the latter does not reduce its confidence in the long-term, current trends will impact top line growth this financial year but it remains committed to delivering its margin expansion goals.

Royal Dutch Shell

It has announced an exploration deep-water gas discovery offshore Malaysia building on its recent exploration successes in the country.

RSA

It has announced the sale of its operations in the Baltics and Poland for GBP300m and subject to obtaining the relevant regulatory approvals, these transactions are expected to complete during H2 2014.

Taylor Wimpey

IMS reports that it has had a strong Q1 and it has achieved an average private net reservation rate of 0.75 sales per outlet per week for the year to date, up from 0.66 in the corresponding period. It has increased its total order book volume by 13% to 8,139 homes on the same point last year and by 23% from the year end. It has also increased its total order book value by 33% to GBP1.6bn. Average selling prices have risen around 22% from the equivalent time last year to GBP248,900. It added that it was confident of delivering at least a 200 to 300bps of operating margin improvement in 2014 and further in 2015 and beyond.