UK share markets open modestly higher on Wednesday as investors are faced with a mixed set of corporate financial announcements. Investors are also largely awaiting the latest word on US interest rates.
'Ahead of the anticipated Fed statement this afternoon, which should outline findings and expectations from the two-day FOMC meeting, London equities are expected to open in a lacklustre mood, with the FTSE-100 seen up around 10 points in early trade,' speculated Beaufort analyst Barry Gibb.
Oil prices have tumbled to a three-month low as surging supply once again exposes the chronic global glut and threatens to perpetuate the energy slump well in the future.
The FTSE 100 index nudges around 25 points higher, or 0.3%, to 6,749, with the midcaps index opening in more robust fashion, the FTSE 250 adding 0.6% to 17,162.
In corporate news, Britain's biggest non-subscription TV broadcaster ITV (ITV) rallies strongly, topping the FTSE 100 leader board, after flagging a much lower likely fall in ad revenues post-Brexit. Half year figures suggest that the company will target around £25 million in cost savings in 2017. The shares charge 4.6% higher to 193.3p.
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.) completed 6,019 homes outside of any joint ventures in the first half of 2016. This is 3% higher than the corresponding period in 2015 and in line with estimates. Average selling prices hit £238,000, almost 6% higher year-on-year in what Davy analysts call 'usual seasonal patterns in July.'
Homes ads board Rightmove (RMV) hikes its interim dividend by 19%, after reporting year-on-year revenue growth across all its business areas in the six months to the end of June. That sparks a near 10% hike in the share price to £41.68.
Another post-Brexit British fillip comes from drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which confirms massive UK investment plans. It will channel £275 million into three of its manufacturing sites in the UK, signalling its commitment to the country despite the vote to leave the European Union. Shares in the group shoot towards the top of the Footise leader board after rising more than 4% to 150.8p.
Quarterly figures from chip designs champ, and Softbank takeover target, ARM (ARM) are typically robust but investors remain unsurprisingly non-plussed given the group's agreed £24.3 billion takeover by the Japanese firm. The shares stay flat at £16.76, just a fraction off the £17.00 per share offer price.
Enterprise accounting software group Sage (SGE), set to become the UK's sole technology blue-chip, publishes third quarter figures showing marginally slowing grow rates, but nothing to upset the apple cart. The update to 30 June, published at 5pm yesterday evening, 'suggested that growth rates slowed marginally in the third quarter while full year guidance was maintained at 6% organic revenue growth and 27% organic operating margin,' says Canaccord analysts. The shares nudge 1.4% higher to 712p
Insurer St James's Place (STJ) reports higher operating profit and expressed confidence in its ability to successfully navigate through any Brexit-related challenges ahead. That boost confidence, the shares rising 5.6% to 933.5p.
Outsourcing group Capita (CPI) fades 1% to 978.5p as it posts growth in revenue and profit in the first half but said it is already seeing delays in decision-making by its clients following the Brexit vote.
Renishaw (RSW), up 1.4% at £24.54, reiterates its confidence in its long term prospects despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit and fluctuations in currency exchange rates, as it reported a fall in pre-tax profit for its recently ended financial year.
Holiday seller On The Beach (OTB) nudges ahead 1% to 217.13p after saying it has managed to keep profits in line with expectations despite a drop in revenue. Its top line has been affected by reduced marketing activity but the company hasn’t gone down the route of discounting holidays just to shift stock.
Flybe (FLYB) dives 9.5% to 38p after it says consumer uncertainty about Brexit, its economic impact and repeated terrorist incidents could have a materially adverse impact on its business. It adds: ‘Travel demand may weaken further if consumer and business confidence suffers, not least against a weaker pound.’
Defensive, cash-generative funeral services star Dignity (DTY) softens 1.9% to £26.83 following a strong post-Brexit run, investors taking profits on a half-time profits drop. This reflects a declining number of deaths on demanding prior year comparators and the good news is the second quarter performance was encouraging, interim operating profits were still 22% higher than the same period in 2014 and Dignity sees a buoyant acquisitions pipeline too.