Having closed at new all-time highs for eight days in a row, London's FTSE 100 is moving higher again, up 17.4 points to 7,255.1 in early dealings. As the British Retail Consortium (BRC) says a strong Christmas week boosted spending growth in December, it is quoted retailers that are hogging the headlines.
Bradford-headquartered grocer Morrisons (MRW) is marked up 4.7% to 248.6p on a fabulous festive update, 2.9% growth in like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) for the nine weeks to 1 January representing its strongest Christmas performance for seven years. CEO David Potts also upgrades full year profit before tax guidance, now expecting a result in the £330m-to-£340m range, ahead of the previous £326m consensus estimate.
With the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel showing the fastest recorded growth since June 2014 and the market returing to inflation in the 12 weeks ending 1 January, Tesco (TSCO) ticks 7.3p higher to 208.25p and Sainsbury's (SBRY) skips 4.7p ahead to 259.5p.
Elsewhere in retail, Majestic Wine (WINE:AIM) is bid up 3.25p to 327.25p on news its Majestic Retail business enjoyed its biggest ever Christmas with like-for-like sales fizzing up 7.5%. Growth at online retailer Naked Wines has also accelerated since the half year, with all markets showing improved momentum.
Pure-play online fashion retailer Boohoo.com (BOO:AIM) improves 1.25p to 144.75p as it unveils strong trading across regions in the four months to December. With brisk business through Black Friday continuing into the Christmas season, Boohoo upgrades sales growth expectations (stripping out recent acquisition PrettyLittleThing) for the year to 28 February yet again.
Also in demand is GoCompare.com (GOCO), the comparison site gaining 6.3% at 72p on full year results showing adjusted operating profits up 30% to £30m - at the top end of guidance provided when the group split from parent Esure (ESUR).
Also beating a retreat is Just Eat (JE.), the online takeaway service marked down 6.5% to 545p. While its full year trading update highlights order growth of 42%, investors are clearly disappointed by the absence of upgrades to annual estimates.
Microsoft-focused IT services supplier K3 Business Technology (KBT:AIM) slumps 22% to 238p after posting a shock profit warning. The company reckons December was less busy than hoped for and, perhaps more troubling, sales cycles are lengthening, which means EBIDA will miss £16m expectations by £3.5m. That implies a 6% decline on the previous year's £12.8m EBITDA. This is an unwelcome start for new CEO Adalsteinn Valdimarsson.
Cloud-based communications and CRM platform supply tiddler Cloudcall (CALL:AIM) reports a 50% jump in 2016 full year revenue to £4.9m, with 85% of it on a recurring basis. But investors clear cheer at the news, judging by the 22.5% share price hike to 79p, is perhaps premature. This implies a slowdown on the 63% first half top line progress while losses (no profit figures given) are likely to be substantial. Reported year end net cash of £3.2m is also largely due to the firm's £3.8m cash call in October.