UK stocks open lower following the weaker trend in Asian and European markets with the FTSE 100 index giving up 0.5% to 6,872 and the FTSE 250 index giving up 0.2% to 18,373.
On a busy day for retail updates supermarket giant Tesco (TSCO) beats estimates with a 2.2% rise in UK like-for-like sales over the key Christmas period, sending its shares up 2% to 216p to top the FTSE 100 leaderboard.
Analysts had forecast a rise of 1.0% to 1.5% for the six-week period to Jan 5th although as we flagged last week some were betting on a positive surprise.
Tesco’s performance in non-food categories such as clothing and general merchandise was ahead of its competitors and the market.
Food sales were down 2.1%, an improvement on the second quarter’s drop of 2.7% and slightly ahead of forecasts, but clothing and home sales disappointed with a 2.4% fall.
It now sees profit in a range between £58m and 62m against a consensus of £72m. Its shares slump 23% to 215p in response.
Like-for-like sales for the six weeks to 5 January were down 3.4% with lower in-store takings offset by better online trading.
Crucially the firm continues to generate cash and is having ‘constructive discussions’ with its lenders. Its shares dip 2% to 5.5p.
Income in the UK, which makes up a quarter of the group total, was also positive despite a tough prior year comparison. Its shares add 1% to 560p.
Faroe’s board has accepted DNO’s offer and it looks as though this ongoing saga has come to an end. As DNO’s chief executive put it in his statement: ‘Faroe had a good run, the baton now passes to DNO’.
Shares in mining group BHP (BHP) are down 6% to £16.05 as they trade without the rights to a $1.02 per share special dividend.
Other stocks going ex-dividend today include Ashtead (AHT), Compass (CPG), CYBG (CYBG), Greencore (GNC), On The Beach (OTB), Qinetiq (QQ.), Scottish Investment Trust (SCIN), SSE (SSE), Stobart Group (STOB) and WH Smith (SMWH).