Thursday’s Master Investor Market Report

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Thursday’s Master Investor Market Report

– The FTSE 100 rose 27.33 points to 6,707.88.
– The FTSE 250 dropped 27.27 points to 17,678.90.
– The FTSE All Share declined 10.90 points to 3,658.53.
– The FTSE AIM All Share finished 1.92 points lower at 764.02.

UK retail sales saw a minor increase in May, with an improvement in supermarket performances offsetting a weakness in clothing. Food sales were of particular note, as they increased by 0.6%, the fastest rate of growth since last November. The Office for National Statistics said that volumes increased by 0.2% during the month, a deceleration from April’s 0.9% level. Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at Markit, commented that “retail sales growth slowed in May after a sunshine-related burst of spending in April, but the underlying trend remains impressively strong and adds to the likelihood of interest rates rising later this year rather than being delayed until 2016”.

Broker Charles Stanley (CAY) recorded revenues of £149.7 million for the year ended 31st March, a 1% increase over the prior period. However, the company dropped to a £6.1 million pre-tax loss from an equivalent profit last year. The company spent the year overhauling its processes to face new regulatory burdens in the financial services sector. The shares fell by 9p to 383p.

Shares in the discount retailer Poundland (PLND) dropped by 11p to 300.1p despite an 11.4% increase in sales to £1.1 billion for the year ended 29th March. The company warned that it faces difficult conditions during the current financial year, a position supported by Hargreaves Lansdown’s Analyst Keith Bowman who noted that Poundland “faces tough comparatives over the current first half, store outlets in Ireland and Spain are battling currency headwinds in the form of a weaker euro, whilst the recent growth in UK wages ahead of inflation, if continued, could possibly dampen the appeal of discounters for some consumers moving forward”.

Technology outfit Premier Farnell (PFL) upped group sales by 5.4% during the first quarter. This increase in revenues was driven by its Rasberry Pi2 products and the Element14 online platform. However, the company is working to cut its costs after gross margins fell by 1.2 percentage point over the 3 months. Shares in the firm declined by 10.4p to 179.3p.

Safestore (SAFE) earned pre-tax profits of £62.2 million pounds during the 6 months ended 30th April, almost 9 times higher than in the comparative period of last year. Improved performance is believed to be a result of major pricing changes that were introduced a year ago. The firm kept its “buy” rating from Investec and was given a target price of 305p in a note issued this morning. Safestore shares lost 0.25p and closed the day at 277p.

Promotional events organiser Space and People (SAL) won a major renewal as well as a new contract, boosting the company’s stock by 5.9% to 62.5p. Both deals relate to events in shopping centres across the UK.

Hornby (HRN) raced towards an AIM placing with £15 million of new equity issued and a statement that it is seeking to delist from the main market. The model train manufacturer also announced that it returned to pre-tax profits. Shares in the firm sank 5.13p to 94p.

Gambling software outfit Playtech (PTEC) has successfully placed 29.05 million shares at 780p, raising £227 million before costs. The funds will be spent on acquisitions including the recently announced deal to takeover Plus500. Outstanding shares in the firm dropped by 7p to 801p.

Tomorrow’s news today

Autotrader (AUTO) is due to report full-year results on Friday.

UK public finance data will be published, as will EU trade statistics.

Quote of the day

“Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt.”
– Herbert Hoover

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