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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (February 18, 2014)

February 18, 2014, Tuesday, 10:45 GMT | 05:45 EST | 15:15 IST | 17:45 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open higher this morning following the gains in the previous session and a firmer Asian performance overnight. Today's economic diary is focused on the UK with the release of the latest inflation data and how close to the Bank of England's 2% target it will remain going forward. Commodity prices are generally lower and on the foreign exchanges, the pound is up again against both the dollar and the euro but within narrow trading ranges.

Company Announcements

BHP Billiton Half Year Results to end December 2013 see underlying EBIT rise by nearly 15% to USD12.38bn with underlying attributable profit ahead 30.6% at USD7.76bn. The interim dividend of 59 cents was unchanged from last year's final dividend, consistent with recent practice. It added that with projected strong free cashflow, net debt of USD27.1bn is expected to approach USD25bn by the end of the 2014 financial year.

InterContinental Hotels Final Results see global comparable RevPAR growth of 3.8% with rate up 1.8% and occupancy ahead 1.3% pts. Underlying operating profits rose 8% to USD668m on underlying revenue ahead 4% at USD1.9bn. The total dividend is raised 9% to 70 cents a share. It noted that over the last 12 months it had entered into agreements to dispose of three InterContinental hotels with total gross proceeds of nearly USD830m. This includes the Mark Hopkins, San Francisco separately announced today. It added that looking into 2014, whilst economic conditions in some markets remain uncertain, forward booking data is encouraging and it is confident of delivering another year of growth.

Poundland Intention to Float. It has confirmed press reports of its intention to apply for the admission of its shares to the premium listing segment of the Official List. In connection with the IPO, which will comprise an offer of shares to institutional investors, it has separately announced the appointments of Darren Shapland, Trevor Bond, Tea Colaianni and Grant Hearn as Non-Executive Directors.