Holidays firm TUI (TUI) saw losses surge in the second quarter to March as holidaymaking Brits continue to put off bookings on ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

But investors chase the shares to the top of the FTSE 100 leader board in early trade on Wednesday apparently relieved that things are not much worse. TUI shares are more than 3% higher at 830.2p, although the stock has slumped 26% so far this calendar year.

Net losses for the three months through to 31 March shot up to €175.1m compared a €142.3m a year ago in a typically challenging winter trading period. For the first half net losses deepened to €287.2m versus last year’s €210.6m negative number.

TUI says that weak results in its airlines and markets division reflected Brexit uncertainty, the knock-on impact of the summer 2018 heatwave and overcapacity in Spain.

Share prices are largely on the front foot in London in early trade Wednesday after gains on Wall Street and in Asia overnight.

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Investors may be feeling a little more upbeat about hopes that the US and China can thrash out a trade deal, an issue that has long festered at the back of the minds of investors.

MILD OPTIMISM ON FTSE 100

The FTSE 100 index is currently trading single digit points higher at around 7,244.25, also aided by a string of decent corporate announcements.

One of the major beats today comes from food services group Compass (CPG) after it lifted full year guidance after reporting a ‘very strong’ performance in the first half of the year.

The company says the positive surprise comes from ‘excellent’ growth in North America, prompting management to raise its organic revenue growth guidance for the full year to 30 September 2019.

Profit margins are also on the rise helping operating profits rise 5.8% to £951m and sparking a 2% share price rise to £17.64.

But it is far from all good news as DIY chain operator Kingfisher (KGF) offers little hope of an improvement in performance.

The first quarter pattern is much the same with Screwfix doing well but B&Q growth remaining stubbornly anodyne. Screwfix like-for-like sales were up 4.5%, B&Q's nudging just 2.8% higher in the quarter.

The company hopes to improve its prospects by launching a pilot convenience store concept although investors remain to be convinced.

Shares in the group slide nearly 3% to 235.1p, topping the FTSE 100 loser board in early deals.

INDUSTRIAL SLOWDOWN

Also acting as a brake to enthusiasm is molten metal flow engineering and technology group Vesuvius (VSVS). Its shares slump more than 5% to 522p after the company reported a slowing market late in 2018 had spilled over into the start of this year.

Vesuvius is pinning its hope of recovery on various self-help restructuring initiatives and for the time-being is remains optimistic of hitting full year expectations.

One of the UK's largest landlords for offices, commercial premises and shops, British Land (BLND), said the value of its properties fell 4.8% to £12.3bn in the year to 31 March 2019.

Its rival Land Securities (LAND), the UK’s largest listed property company by assets, yesterday said the value of its portfolio lost £557m to £13.8bn.

Retail space dragged prices down 11.1%, said British Land, as the high street struggles under competition from cheaper internet-based shops.

British Land shares decline 1% to 554.8p, roughly matching Land Securities’ 1.4% slide yesterday, now trading at 878.6p.

OneSavings Bank (OSB) said it grew its loan book by 5% in its first quarter, though its margins had weakened. Net loans and advances in the three months through to 31 March had grown to £9.4bn.

But while asset pricing remains stable the company says it ‘continues to see marginal net interest margin dilution.’

The shares nudge 1.2p higher at 429.8p.

Aerospace firm Cobham (COB) has finally settled a long-running tax dispute with HMRC. The company, which makes air-to-air refuelling systems, says it has agreed to pay £69m to UK tax authorities to cover what it owes plus interest.

Presumably investors will be relieved to get this monkey of their backs, marking the stock 0.3% up at 114p, valuing the business at 2.7bn.

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Issue Date: 15 May 2019