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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (February 19, 2014)

February 19, 2014, Wednesday, 09:36 GMT | 04:36 EST | 14:06 IST | 16:36 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open lower this morning following the mixed performances overnight on Wall Street and in Asia providing no clear direction. Today's economic diary though will see the release of the Bank of England MPC Meeting Minutes and the latest unemployment data. These will be followed at lunchtime in the US with building permits and producer prices numbers. At 7.00pm UK time the FOMC Meeting Minutes will also come out. Commodity prices are generally lower and on the foreign exchanges, the pound is up against both the dollar and the euro but trading in narrow ranges ahead of the economic data releases.

Company Announcements

Sports Direct IMS reports that sales in the 13 weeks ending 26 January 2014 rose 11.2% to GBP655.4m with gross profit ahead 14.6% at GBP280.7m. It noted that despite tougher comparisons, it had continued to perform well with online also strong and non-UK online gross profit contribution is expected to be greater than the UK equivalent by the end of the financial year. It added that it is 'very confident' of achieving at least its full year internal underlying EBITDA target of GBP310m, before the charge for the Employee Bonus Share Scheme.

Galliford Try Half Year Results see PBT and revenue both up 18% at GBP38.1m and GBP803.5m respectively. The interim dividend is raised 25% to 15p a share and it has put in place a new GBP400m five year unsecured bank facility. It noted that housing market conditions continue to improve and it has a record landbank, whilst in construction the order book has grown slightly to GBP1.25bn. In the latter it acknowledged that whilst the market in the short term remains challenging, it is continuing to see increased levels of opportunities, with 100% of projected revenue secured for the current financial year and 65% for 2015. It added that performance since the start of the calendar year has been strong and it is confident of meeting the Board's expectations for the full year and also outlined its growth strategy to 2018 with the objective of more than doubling FY 2013 profits and EPS.

Pets At Home Intention to Float. It has also confirmed earlier press reports of its intention to to proceed with an IPO and apply for the admission of its shares to the premium listing segment of the Official List. It has announced the appointment of four independent Non-Executive Directors as part of the process and in the 40 week period to 2 January 2014, total revenue growth was 11.7% yoy, lfl +2.4% with underlying EBITDA ahead 11.1%.