It is another slow start for stocks on 'Super Thursday' with the FTSE 100 index giving up 0.1% to 7,163 on weakness in food producers, industrials and oil services.
All eyes are on the Bank of England with the release of data on inflation, the latest monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting notes and a decision on interest rates all due at midday.
Like-for-like sales for the quarter to December were up 6.9% thanks to new business wins with particularly strong progress in the US.
The outlook for this year is more of the same with sales seen rising c3% on emerging market demand and another small increase in margins.
Investors seem to have homed in on the small rise in cancellations and the firm’s comments on customer uncertainty instead.
Purveyor of up-market sausages Cranswick (CWK) is a major casualty seeing its shares put through the mincer, down 19% to a new 12-month low of £23.98.
Current trading is in line with estimates but it is the forward guidance which has spooked investors.
With pork prices down and the firm’s investment in poultry production ramping up, the squeeze on margins is likely to be compounded by what the company calls a ‘potentially challenging commercial landscape’.
Due to last summer’s UK heatwave and the weak pound fewer Brits have booked holidays abroad meaning TUI won’t make its earnings target.
It also abandoned its target of raising earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation (EBITA) for the next three years.
There was happier news from rival Thomas Cook (TCG) with first quarter sales in line with previous estimates and the outlook for the full year maintained.
Turnover in the three months to December was up 1% on a like-for-like basis and summer bookings are slightly ahead of last year.
After a year of disappointing updates investors cheer the news sending the shares up 13% to 35p.
The firm is enjoying strong mobile traffic and rising conversion rates which are leading to an increased level of repeat business.
On The Beach shares add 2% to 450p, continuing their recent strong run.