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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (July 24, 2014)

July 24, 2014, Thursday, 08:00 GMT | 03:00 EST | 11:30 IST | 14:00 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open slightly lower this morning given the mixed performances on Wall Street and in Asia. Overnight we had economic news out of China with the HSBC flash manufacturing PMI coming in ahead of forecast at 52, above the key 50 level mark of expansion. The economic diary today also sees the release of domestic retail sales data, the US latest weekly jobless claims, flash manufacturing PMI and new home sales figures. Commodity prices are mixed and on the foreign exchanges, the dollar is slightly higher against the pound and euro but weaker against the yen although all the major currencies are trading within narrow ranges ahead of these data releases.


Company Announcements

Close Brothers Group


Trading Statement reports continued momentum in Banking with year to date loan book growth of 12% to GBP5.2bn, Securities performance remained broadly consistent with H1 and Asset Management continued to make good progress with 7% growth year to date in assets under management to GBP9.7bn. It added that its outlook is unchanged and it expects to report another strong performance for the full year.

Unilever

First Half Results see underlying sales growth of 3.7% with emerging markets up 6.6%, underlying volume growth of 1.9% and price +1.7%. Turnover fell 5.5% to EUR24.1bn with currency down 8.5%, the core operating margin was stable at 14% at current exchange rates and +30 bps at constant exchange rates. Operating profit rose 13% to EUR4.4bn, reflecting profits on disposal with net profit ahead 12% at EUR3bn. It noted that its markets have been challenging and it has experienced a further slow-down in emerging countries whilst developed markets are not yet picking up. It added that it remains focused on achieving another year of profitable volume growth ahead of its markets, steady and sustainable core operating margin improvement and strong cashflow.

Kingfisher

Q2 Pre-Close Update reports that total sales in the 10 weeks to 12 July were up 0.8% but down 1.8% lfl in constant currencies taking the 23 weeks performance to +5.1% and +2.3% respectively. It noted that trading in Q2 was going to be more difficult, annualising a strong comparative last year and this year's weather boosted Q1. However, its markets in Q2, notably in June have been slower than anticipated particularly in France and Poland but will know more by its Interims in September. It added that it is accelerating its self-help margin and cost initiatives to help support its H2 performance.