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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (August 19, 2014)

August 19, 2014, Tuesday, 11:02 GMT | 06:02 EST | 15:32 IST | 18:02 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 on hopes of progress in both the Ukraine and Iraq situations. The economic diary today sees the release of domestic inflation data with investor attention then turning to the US at lunchtime for building permit figures and US inflation numbers. Commodity prices are slightly firmer and on the foreign exchanges, the dollar is very slightly higher against the pound, euro and yen but all are trading within narrow ranges ahead of these data releases.

Company Announcements

Persimmon

Half Year Results see underlying PBT up 57% to GBP212.9m on revenue ahead 33% at GBP1.2bn. Net cash as at the end of June stood at GBP326.3m with ROACE increasing 54% to 21.7%. Legal completions rose 28% to 6,408 new homes sold with the average selling price up 4.3% to GBP186,970. It noted that whilst it has entered the traditionally slower summer trading, it was encouraged by private sale reservations since 1 July which are currently 9% ahead of the same time a year ago, helped by the Help to Buy scheme. The value of its current forward sales is 22% ahead of the prior year at over GBP1.53bn with an average selling price of around GBP206,700, a rise of 3.2%. It added that whilst it remained vigilant about the continued challenges facing its markets from domestic events and abroad, it was confident of the company's continued successful development.

Imperial Tobacco

IMS reports that in the 9 months to end June 2014, its growth brands outperformed the market with volume growth of 3% and net revenue ahead 7%. Specialist brands supported the total tobacco portfolio with net revenue gains of 3% with growth markets showing further progress with tobacco net revenue growth of 8%. The returns markets were described as 'resilient' with tobacco net revenue down 1%. Its cost optimisation programme is on track to deliver incremental savings of GBP60m for the year and noted that the proposed acquisition of US assets will make it a stronger competitor in a significant profit pool and key growth market. It added that its full year outlook was unchanged with guidance continuing to be for modest adjusted EPS growth at constant currency and dividend growth of at least 10%.