Price comparison websites could be the latest industry ripe for disruption as reports suggest that Amazon is mulling a move into the space.
According to reports, the US online sales giant has been talking to some of Europe’s top insurance firms to see if they would contribute products to an Amazon UK price comparison website. This would be Amazon’s first major move into financial services in Europe and it has got investors spooked.
Shares in UK price comparison businesses are talking a hefty hit in early trade on Thursday led by a near 8% slump for Gocompare (GOCO). The stock is the biggest faller on the FTSE All Share on Tuesday, down 9p to 105p, wiping close on £40m off the company’s market value at £438m.
NOT DOING IT THEMSELVES
DIY chain Kingfisher (KGF) is among the leading FTSE 100 fallers after lacklustre overseas sales offset an improving picture in the UK. The B&Q, Screwfix and Castorama (in France)-owner reported an overall 1.6% rise in like-for-like sales during the second quarter after the weather improved, although the French business saw same store sales decline 1%.
The company said same store sales at B&Q in the UK and Ireland rose 3.6% during the three months to 31 July, while comparable trade at Screwfix, which sells to professionals, rose by 5.5%, prompting questions about UK homeowners doing less themselves and paying tradespeople to take on more house improvement work.
Propping the wider market up on Thursday is the inevitable bounce of miners, hit hard yesterday by trade war worries. Chilean copper digger Antofagasta (ANTO) leads the recovery (and the FTSE 100 leader board) with a 3% rally to 861.6p, helping the drive a modest rally for the FTSE 100 index, up is up around 15 points at 7,512.39 in early deals.
FULL HOUSE, OR EMPTY HOUSE
This follows a profit warning from the group in April.
A 2.1% increase in the annual dividend to 7.45p per share is evidently scant consolation.
There’s also the predictable recent demand weakness reported thanks to the blistering summer temperatures across the UK over recent weeks, although investors will be pleased to read that clawing back marketing spend should leave profits on track for the full year.
Analysts are currently anticipating a near 20% rise in pre-tax profit this year to end September to roughly £34m.
FIRMS GOING EX-DIVIDEND
A whole host of FTSE 100 heavyweight stocks go ex-dividend on Thursday, meaning investors will no longer be entitled to the latest payout.
These include Anglo American (AAL), Aviva (AV.), HSBC (HSBA), Legal & General (LGEN) and Lloyds Banking (LLOY), among others. That trims 17.13 points off the FTSE 100, according to Reuters’ calculations.