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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (January 24, 2014)

January 24, 2014, Friday, 09:24 GMT | 05:24 EST | 14:54 IST | 17:24 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open higher this morning although gains may be limited with the US and Asian markets finishing lower. A survey out overnight from Knight Frank and Markit reported that a record number of UK homeowners expect the value of their properties to increase in 2014. The balance of 72.3 is the highest level since the survey started and represents a rise on the 70.5 recorded in December. There is no other major economic data due for release today. Commodity prices are mixed and on the foreign exchanges, the dollar is stronger against both the pound and the euro but within narrow trading ranges.
Company Announcements
Royal Mail IMS reports that trading in the 9 months to 29 December 2013 saw lfl group revenue up 2% with parcels accounting for 51% of revenue although parcel volumes were flat. It noted that trading and trends in the 9 months and in the period from end September 2013 to date have been in line with its expectations and the H1. Consequently, it expects these trends including revenue and volume in UK parcels to continue and is confident that it will deliver results consistent with its key value drivers. It added that the ballot to recommend the pay agreement with the CWU and pension reform started on 22 January and will run through until 5 February 2014. 
Close Brothers Trading Update reports that it has continued its positive performance and anticipates a strong result for H1. It noted that Banking was strong with loan book growth up 4% year to date to GBP4.8bn, Winterfloods is continuing to benefit from improved market conditions  and increased retail investor trading activity with Asset Management progressing as assets under management rose 4% to GBP9.5bn. It added that it remained confident in the outlook for the current financial year.
Workspace Group IMS reports that it has seen good growth in lfl rent roll and pricing reflecting the stength of demand for the tailored space and services it provides at its London properties. It added that it was making good progress in its refurbishment and redevelopment programme and is also seeing strong demand from residential developers at sites where it has obtained residential planning consents.