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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (February 25, 2014)

February 25, 2014, Tuesday, 10:53 GMT | 05:53 EST | 15:23 IST | 17:53 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open lower this morning despite the gains in the previous session on general M&A optimism and overnight on Wall Street following a mixed performance in Asia as investors look to adopt an initial cautious stance. Today's economic diary will see the release of the CBI distributive trades survey which will be followed this afternoon in the US with the CB consumer confidence numbers. Commodity prices are generally lower and on the foreign exchanges, the dollar is weaker against the major currencies although all are trading within narrow ranges.

Company Announcements

GKN Annual Results see PBT up 17% to GBP578m on sales ahead 10% at GBP7.59bn reflecting organic growth in Automotive, the contribution from GKN Aerospace Engine Systems and a weaker performance from Land Systems. The dividend is raised 10% to 7.90p a share. It added that 2014 is expected to show another year of progress and whilst an adverse currency could provide a significant translational headwind, it noted that this should be outweighed by the benefits of its diverse exposure to global markets, strong customer positions and healthy order books.

Persimmon Final Results see underlying PBT up 49% at GBP330m on revenue ahead 21% at GBP2.1bn. The operating margin rose to 16% with forward sales strongly ahead at over GBP1.4bn, an increase of 41%. It is accelerating its capital return plan with 70p per share to be paid on 4 July 2014, being a part acceleration of the final planned payment of 115p in 2021. The planned 95p per share payment for 2015 is reinstated in full with payments of at least 10p per share to be made in both 2016 and 2018, part accelerated from the final planned payment for 2021. It added that the early weeks of the spring selling season have been encouraging, with the weekly private sales rate per site up 22% on last year for the first 8 weeks, and anticipates a further year of encouraging sales growth.

St James's Place Annual Results see profit before shareholder tax up 42% to GBP190.7m with the net inflow of funds under management ahead 28% at GBP4.3bn. Funds under management rose 27% to GBP44.3bn and it is in advanced talks to acquire an international adviser business in Asia. The full year dividend is raised 50% to 15.96p and anticipates a rise of between 30%-40% in the latter for 2014. It added that the growth seen in 2013 maintains the momentum in the business and bodes well for future growth.