Shares rebounded slightly from yesterday's sell-off with the FTSE 100 index gaining 14 points or 0.2% to 7,625 in early trade led by domestic sectors including house-builders and financial stocks.

Shares in house-builder Berkeley Group (BKG) were 5% higher at £54.58 after it announced that it would return £1 billion of cash to shareholders over the next two years, an increase of £455 million over its original cash-return target.

That news lifted shares in Persimmon (PSN) 2% to £30.36 and Barratt Developments (BDEV) 1.8% to 821p on hopes of a similar increase in pay-outs.

In a surprise announcement, supermarket group Sainsburys (SBRY) said that chief executive Mike Coupe would step down at the end of May after six years in the role. Coupe will be succeeded by Simon Roberts, who joined the grocer three years ago and is currently retail and operations director. Sainsbury's shares fell 1.5% to 209p.

High-fashion brand Burberry (BRBY) raised its full-year revenue expectations after same-store sales rose 3% in the 13 weeks to 28 December. Instead of 'broadly stable', chief executive Marco Gobbetti now expects sales to grow by low single digits at constant exchange rates and operating margins to be stable despite the protests in Hong Kong, one of its key markets. However shares retreated 2.8% to £21.99 on the update.

Fashion retailer Ted Baker (TED) revealed that a review by accountants Deloitte had found that its inventory position was over-stated by £58m at the start of 2019. This is 'materially higher' than last month's preliminary assessment of a £20m to 25m over-statement. Shares took the news in their stride, dipping just 1% to 315p.

Pub group Wetherspoon (JDW) delivered a solid trading update for the last six months, with sales in the second quarter - including Christmas and New Year - up 4.7% on a like-for-like basis. However the firm left its guidance for the full year unchanged, which left the shares drifting off 0.5% at £15.90.

Shares in retailer WH Smith (SMWH) were also marginally lower, down 0.2% at £25.35 after it reported a 1% dip in like-for-like revenues for the five months to 18 January. Unsurprisingly, positive growth in its Travel business was offset by tough trading conditions for the High Street business.

Pet-care business Pets At Home (PETS) confirmed its full-year expectations after registering 7.2% like-for-like sales growth in the 12 weeks to 2 January. Retail revenues grew 7% while Vet Group revenues were up by 8.9% on a like-for-like basis. Shares clawed their way up 1% to 290p.

Shares in brick-maker Forterra (FORT) slid 4.8% to 338p after it warned that the 'challenging market conditions experienced in the second half of 2019' would continue into this year, therefore first-half earnings would be below last year's level.

 

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Issue Date: 22 Jan 2020