UK equities are modestly in the red in early trade on Thrsday ahead of the Bank of England’s 'Super Thursday' of announcements which include the policy decision, meeting minutes and Inflation Report.
The FTSE 100 index slides around 18 points, or 0.25%, to 6,146, with other UK indexes falling similarly. This is in contrast to largely positive moves across Europe's leading indices, but in line with the overnight sell-off on Wall Street.
In corporate news, broadband and calls supplier TalkTalk (TALK) loses 1.3% to 267.65p as it unveils a massive slump in full year pre-tax profits to £14 million, half of the previous year's figure, in the wake of last October's damaging cyber attack. But investors are pepped up by a 15% hike ion the dividend.
Branded fashion retailer SuperGroup (SGP) is distinctly in vogue, the shares surging 13% higher to £14.24 as a year-end trading update highlights a robust final quarter, an upwards nudge to annual gross margin guidance and also triggers earnings upgrades. Against a tough prior year comparative, the Superdry brand owner generated 15.4% like-for-like sales growth for the fourth quarter to 23 April, boosted by ecommerce progress and new sportswear and premium product ranges and helping to drive full-year revenue 21.1% north to £589.5 million. We'll look at the update in more detail here later.
Ex-dividend Centrica (CNA) is among the bigger blue-chip fallers with a 3.8% drop to 202.5p.
Mike Ashley's unloved Sports Direct (SPD) turns down 1.1p to 375.1p as the extension of the maturity period for its put option to acquire 10.5% of Debenhams' (DEB) shares by one year fails to rouse the stock from its recent slump. The maverick sports retail powerhouse 'reiterates its intention to be a supportive stakeholder in Debenhams and to create value in the interests of both Sports Direct's and Debenhams' shareholders'.
Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino owner Rank (RNK) surges 4.3% to 247.5p on a 3% rise in like-for-like revenue in the 19 weeks to 8 May, with digital revenue up 6% led by 35% growth in Grosvenor's digital channel. The migration to a new platform for Mecca led to a 5% drop in digital revenue, but the group expects new content and functionality to have a positive impact on performance.
Packaging group Mondi (MNDI) gains 3.3% to £13.94 on a 14% rise in operating profit to €269 million in the first quarter of 2016. Strong contributions from consumer packaging, uncoated fine paper and the South Africa division offset the impact of lower selling prices in certain packaging paper segments and margin pressure in fibre packaging. The group says it's confident of delivering results in line with its expectations.