UK stock market morning note (January 22, 2014)
January 22, 2014, Wednesday, 08:52 GMT | 04:52 EST | 14:22 IST | 16:52 SGT
The FTSE 100 is called to open higher this morning although gains may be limited as investors look ahead to the release of domestic economic data. These will include the latest unemployment figures, the Bank of England MPC Meeting Minutes and public sector net borrowing. Commodity prices are flat to lower and on the foreign exchanges, the major currencies are range bound.
BHP Billiton Half Year Operational Review for the period to end December 2013 notes production records achieved across 10 operations and 3 commodities. Full year production guidance is maintained for its petroleum, copper, iron ore and coal businesses. It added that it remains committed to actively managing its portfolio for value.
JD Wetherspoon Pre-Close Statement reports that for the first 12 weeks of Q2 to 19 January 2014, lfl sales rose 6.7% and total sales by 10.6%. In the year to date covering the 25 weeks to 19 January, lfl sales were up 5.2% and total sales by 9%. It expects its operating margin for H1 to be around 8.1%, 0.2% lower than the same period a year ago due to increased investment and between 8.1%-8.3% for the financial year. It also anticipates a slightly higher corporation tax rate and added that assuming reasonable sales growth, it is targeting a 'reasonable outcome' for the current financial year.
Land Securities Q3 IMS reports continued high levels of activity across its business and two new central London development starts. It noted in retail continued demand for good locations and in particular strong demand in food and beverage. In central London, it has seen occupier demand rise further, adding that with supply constraints of high quality, technically resilient space its significant committed programme of speculative developments is well placed.