London’s blue-chip benchmark trades 10.8 points lower at 7,369 early on ahead of the monetary policy statement from the Bank of England, with interest rates widely expected to be kept on hold following the latest inflation figures.
On a busy day for corporate reporting, clothing retailer Next (NXT) rebounds 8.6% to £47.95 on relief that first half results are in-line with forecasts, albeit highlighting a tough period with profits down sharply.
The good news is full year sales and profit guidance range is modestly upgraded, with the profit before tax range upped from £680m to £740m to between £687m to £747m. While the retail environment remains tough, CEO Simon Wolfson says Next’s performance has ‘been encouraging on a number of fronts’ in the last three months and is confident Next has the correct ranges in place ahead of Christmas.
The supermarket’s seventh consecutive quarter of positive like-for-like sales growth, up 2.6% before fuel and VAT, enables Morrisons to report profit growth on growth for the first time in the turnaround. Net debt has reduced to below management’s £1bn year-end target and Morrisons also upgrades profit guidance with a boost from its new wholesale tie-up with McColl’s (MCLS).
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) edges 0.6p higher to 376.1p after exchanging conditional contracts to combine its existing business in Iberia, JD Sprinter Holdings 2010, with the Sport Zone business, a subsidiary of Sonae - SGPS, one of the largest sports retailers in Spain and Portugal.
Also in demand is Allied Minds (ALM), the technology commercialisation company bid up 15.5% to 171.75p as subsidiary Federated Wireless raises $42m from new investors, key strategic partners in the spectrum sharing ecosystem as well as existing investor Neil Woodford. Excitement surrounding Federated Wireless’ launch of the wireless industry’s first spectrum controller, enabling government and commercial users to securely share the same spectrum band without impacting quality of service, is also behind the share price rise.
Sports betting and gaming group GVC Holdings (GVC) gains 3.75% to 829.5p on news of a 99% rise in first half adjusted profit before tax to €101.9m. CEO Kenneth Alexander says GVC’s strong performance together with the smooth integration of bwin.party ‘continues to present exciting organic growth opportunities’.
Support services and construction group Interserve (IRV) crashes 45.2% lower to 83.5p on a warning full year results are likely to be significantly below previous forecasts. UK trading in July and August was disappointing, particularly in support services, but also in its construction division and the cost of exiting its energy from waste contracts now look set to exceed the £160m initially expected.
Spire Healthcare (SPI) topples 16.4% to 259.2p after revealing significantly lower than anticipated revenues in July and August and reporting this trend in performance appears to be continuing into early September.
Lipstick and eyeliner seller Warpaint London (W7L:AIM) slumps 22.5p or 11.1% to 180p despite interim results showing continued sales of its W7 cosmetics brand in all regions. Investors focus on news sales will be more weighted to the second half than in previous years as well as Stockdale’s downgrading of its full year sales forecast from £31.9m to £30.2m as management continues to prioritise profits over revenue.