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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (December 12, 2013)

December 12, 2013, Thursday, 09:03 GMT | 04:03 EST | 13:33 IST | 16:03 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open lower this morning following the performances overnight on Wall Street and in Asia as investors look ahead to the US Federal Reserve meeting next week and possible tapering outcome. Today's economic agenda sees a speech from the ECB President, Mario Draghi which will be followed at lunchtime in the US with the release of the latest weekly jobless claims and retail sales figures. Commodity prices are firmer and on the foreign exchanges, the pound is weaker against both the dollar and the euro but all the major currencies continue to trade in narrow ranges.

Company Announcements

SuperGroup Interim Results see underlying PBT up 21.8% to GBP17.9m on revenue ahead 21.4% at GBP192.1m. Retail revenue rose 19.3% with lfl sales growth of 8.1% and wholesale revenue was up 25%. Infrastructure and systems investment projects are on track and on budget and it noted that e-commerce 'continues to thrive' with Superdry products now sold globally through stores in 41 countries and 16 international websites. It added that whilst comparatives for Q3 are more challenging than those experienced so far in 2013, the first weeks of the Christmas trading period have been 'encouraging' and have demonstrated a continuation of the trading momentum seen in H1.

Sports Direct Interim Results see underlying EBITDA (pre share schemes costs) rise 12.3% to GBP183.3m with underlying PBT ahead 16.9% to GBP146.2m on revenue ahead 23.5% at GBP1.34bn. Sports Retail saw online sales growth of 43% and now contributes 15.5% of total Sports Retail sales with International Sports stores sales reporting growth of 30.8%. The company noted that the strong group performance was ahead of management's expectations but 'is not minded to resume a regular dividend distribution policy whilst evaluating attractive investment opportunities'. It added that it is confident of at least achieving its full year internal underlying EBITIDA target of GBP310m, before the charge for the employee bonus share scheme. The Finance Director, Bob Mellors has also notified the Board of his desire to retire at the end of December on health grounds, but has committed to an orderly handover of responsibilities when a successor is appointed.

John Wood Group Pre-Close Trading Update reports that it remains confident of achieving 2013 performance in line with expectations. In 2014, the mix of opex and capex activities and the contribution from completed acquisitions is expected to lead to growth overall, with growth in Wood Group PSN offsetting a reduction in Wood Group Engineering.