The FTSE 100 got off to a good start on this morning as investors await the latest UK jobs data to be published today with cautious optimism.
It follows yesterday’s data on the UK economy, which showed the country avoided a recession as it recorded 0.3% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of the year.
The UK’s benchmark index rose 21.44 points, or 0.29%, to 7,349.39.
B&M DOWN ON JAWOLL HIT
Value retailer B&M (BME) plummeted 9% to 342p after taking a £59.5m hit relating to its German business Jawoll.
The firm said its ‘continued disappointing financial performance’ in Germany was due to distribution issues and weak sales performance, with a strategic review of the business being undertaken.
Due to the impairment charge relating to Jawoll, B&M’s pre-tax profit for the 26 weeks to 29 September dropped a whopping 70.5% to £32.2m.
ITV UP ON BULLISH STATEMENT
The firm said it is confident that ITV Studios will deliver revenue growth of at least 5% at a 14-16% margin, and also expects double-digit revenue growth in its online division as well as growth in its direct to consumer business.
Total advertising revenue is forecast to be around 2% down for the full year, but its cost programme is on track to deliver £20m of savings in 2019, and in addition ITV said it will maintain its full year dividend guidance of at least 8p per share.
ELECTROCOMPONENTS DOWN AFTER BRITISH STEEL HIT
Electronics distributor Electrocomponents (ECM) fell over 8% to 647p as it reported a fall in half-yearly profit, with revenue growth offset by asset write-downs following the collapse of British Steel.
For the six months ended 30 September, pre-tax profit fell 4.3% to £89m, with like-for-like adjusted pre-tax profit also down 0.4% to £103.4m, though revenue rose 7.3% to £978.7m.
The market was also less than reassured about its trading so far in the second half of its financial year, with the firm saying it has delivered modest growth ‘despite weakness in some of our key underlying markets’.
VODAFONE RISES DESPITE INDIA RULING
It said the overall loss primarily reflects losses in relation to its Indian business Vodafone Idea following an ‘adverse judgement against the industry’ by the Supreme Court in India.
Reported revenue increased by 0.4% to €21.9bn, benefiting from its acquisition of Liberty Global's assets in Germany and Central & Eastern Europe.
Vodafone added that its organic adjusted EBITDA was up 1.4%, reflecting €0.2bn in operating expense savings in its common functions and its Europe division.
OXFORD INSTRUMENTS JUMPS ON HIGHER SALES
Science tools marker Oxford Instruments (OXIG) advanced 6.6% to £14.64 on the back of a 55% rise in first-half profit to £18m, driven by higher sales and an increase in the value of currency derivatives.
Reported revenue increased by 13.1% to £166.3m, while orders were up 6.4% to £173.3m.
The firm also increased its interim dividend by 7.9% to 4.1p per share, and maintained its full year guidance, saying it expects the second half of its financial year to benefit from the 'normal seasonal bias'.
PREMIER FOODS UP AS MR KIPLING BOOSTS PROFIT
Adjusted pre-tax profit increased 5% to £31.7m as sales of Mr Kipling, Premier Food’s biggest brand, grew by 8%.
Revenues at the firm, whose brands also include Oxo and Ambrosia, rose by 2.4% to £366.7m. It also managed to cut its net debt by 38.8%, down to £470.7m.
MEGGITT FLAT ON BOEING 737 MAX WARNING
Aerospace components firm Meggitt (MGGT) was broadly flat at 629p as morning trading got underway, despite opening higher, as it raised its full year revenue forecast following stronger than expected trading in the third quarter.
It now expects organic revenue to rise by 6-7%, up from 4-6% previously. Though while it said it anticipates ‘good top line growth’ for the full year, its profit margins will be ‘constrained’.
This is mainly due to the grounding of the Boeing 737MAX and, as it flagged in its half year results, ‘pressures across our internal and external supply chain driven by the unprecedented ramp up in new aircraft production.’