UK stock market morning note (January 30, 2014)
January 30, 2014, Thursday, 10:29 GMT | 05:29 EST | 15:59 IST | 18:29 SGT
The FTSE 100 is called to open lower this morning following the performances on Wall Street and in Asia overnight after confirmation from the US Federal Reserve that it would trim its bond buying programme by another USD10bn next month to USD65bn. Other news overnight saw the HSBC final Chinese manufacturing PMI reading come in at 49.5, below the key 50 level mark. Today's economic diary is confined to the US with the publication of the latest weekly jobless claims, advance GDP data and pending home sales figures. Commodity prices are mixed but trading in narrow ranges and on the foreign exchanges, the pound is up against both the dollar and the euro but all are range bound.
Johnson Matthey IMS reports that trading in Q3 was good, driven mainly by another strong performance from Emission Control Technologies. Overall, sales ex precious metals rose 12% to GBP708m and underlying PBT was up 16% to GBP96m. It added that the outlook for the group has improved slightly and excluding the loss of the Anglo Platinum contracts, it now expects H2 to be slightly ahead of the first 6 months. It also separately announced that the Chief Executive, Neil Carson is to step down in June but will stay on the board until the end of this September. He will be replaced by the current Finance Director, Robert MacLeod and succession plans are well advanced about the latter's replacement.
BSkyB Interim Results see adjusted EBITDA flat at GBP813m following the investment in connected TV services and one-off step up in Premier League costs. Operating profit was down 8% at GBP595m on revenue ahead 7.6% at GBP3.75bn. The interim dividend is raised 9% to 12p with 36% of customers now taking triple play, 534,000 more than a year ago. ARPU was GBP570 with churn in Q2 standing at 10.8%.
Diageo Interim Results see net sales up 1.8% at GBP5.9bn following growth of 2.2% in Q1 with operating profits ahead 2.9% at GBP2.06bn. The interim dividend is raised 9% to 19.7p and announced that savings of GBP200m a year by the period to end June 2017 will fund future change programmes, investment and improved margin. Restructuring costs expected to be taken as an exceptional charge will be between GBP200m to GBP250m. It added that it does expect some top line improvement in H2 even though some markets may remain challenging.