UK stocks fall in early trade Thursday led by a deluge of corporate updates from Footsie groups, including Tesco (TSCO), Tullow Oil (TLW) and Unilever (ULVR), plus a damaging profit warning from estate agent Foxtons (FOXT). London's FTSE 100 index is trading off by 34 points, or 0.6%, at 6,365 in early deals, with ex-dividend stocks also providing a drag.
Beleaguered grocery giant Tesco leads the Footsie loser board, its shares tumbling 5.3% to 173.35p as it fails to provide full-year profit guidance. Interim profits slump and there's a 75% dividend cut, which comes as no surprise. Worryingly, Tesco also says its profits mis-statement, confirmed at £263 million for the half, is not merely a first half matter. In an uncertain outlook, CEO Dave Lewis also warns there could be further downgrades to full-year profits ahead.
Tullow Oil's shares sink after the company's first well in Kenya's Kerio Basin had to be plugged and abandoned. The shares dive 4.1% to 506p.
Estate agency Foxtons collapses 18.2% to 167.8p as it warns on profits thanks to a slowing London property market. Earnings before, interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) will be lower than last year's £49.6 million.
Consumer goods giant Unilever cheapens 2.6% to £24.69 as its' latest trading update highlights slowing third quarter growth.
Mr. Kipling cakes-to-Bisto gravy maker Premier Foods (PFD) is marked down 10.2% to 30.75p as it warns annual profits will come in towards the lower end of market expectations. CEO Gavin Darby flags increasingly tough conditions in the third quarter amid structural changes in the grocery market, causing a 4.7% quarterly sales slump.
Soft drinks maker Britvic (BVIC) fizzes 10.5p (1.7%) higher to 646.5p on a refreshing full-year trading update, saying operating profits will be marginally ahead of its previous £156 million top end guidance.
The owner of several public relations agencies, Porta Communications (PTCM:AIM) jumps 16.1% to 9p after saying all parts of the group have met new business targets. Redleaf, bought in April and whose clients include Quindell (QPP:AIM), is trading ahead of budget. We highlighted Porta's attractions last summer as a Play of the Week trade in Shares.
Precious metals miner African Barrick Gold (ABG) advances 3.2% to 201.2p after reporting its eight quarterly reduction in operating costs in a row.