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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (December 11, 2013)

December 11, 2013, Wednesday, 09:04 GMT | 04:04 EST | 13:34 IST | 16:04 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open higher this morning although gains may be limited as investors start to look ahead to the end of the year and the ongoing issue of whether the US Federal Reserve will begin tapering its bond buying programme this side of 2013. There is no major economic data due for release today with commodity prices flat to slightly lower and on the foreign exchanges, the pound is weaker against both the dollar and the euro.

Company Announcements

Royal Bank of Scotland Resignation. It has confirmed press reports that Nathan Bostock, the Finance Director has informed the Board of his intention to resign. His formal resignation is expected soon but he will reamain in his position to ensure an orderly handover of responsibilities.

Carillion Pre-Close Trading Update reports that trading in 2013 remains 'broadly in line with expectations' as set out in October. As expected, total revenue in 2013 will be lower than 2012, mainly as a result of the planned rescaling of its UK construction activities, with the total operating margin staying close to that seen in 2012. Net debt is reducing as expected, with it noting an improved working capital position in H2. New order intake is reported as strong with the total value of orders plus probable orders remaining at GBP18bn and the pipeline of contract opportunities standing at some GBP37bn. Committed bank facilities have been extended to 2018 and it has put a cap on its future pension scheme liabilities through a GBP1bn longevity swap. It added that it expects market conditions to remain challenging but it continues to be well positioned for the future. It also separately announced that its JV has signed a contract extension with BT for Broadband Delivery UK potentially worth up to GBP500m.  

FirstGroup Sandell Proposal. It has confirmed press speculation of a proposal from Sandell Asset Management for seeking strategic changes to the group i.e. a separation and asset disposals. It added that having met and reviewed Sandell's proposal, it believes that it is not compelling and contains a number of structural flaws and inaccuracies, noting that it remains focused on 'vigorous' execution of its strategy.