Thursday’s Master Investor Market Report

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Thursday’s Master Investor Market Report

– The FTSE 100 closed the day at 6,650.40, a decrease of 16.94 points.
– The FTSE 250 fell by 31.45 points to 17,614.20.
– The FTSE All Share dropped 8.47 points to 3,631.05.
– The FTSE AIM All Share finished 2.90 points higher at 756.30.

Unilever (ULVR) beat forecasts for the quarter ended 30th June, contributing to a strong set of results for the first half of 2015. Underlying revenue growth of 2.7% was better than the expected 2.6% and operating margins also rose by 50 basis points. However, consumer demand remained somewhat stagnant, particularly in Europe and North America. Shore Capital said it saw “scope to nudge up our Unilever forecasts post today’s results, primarily driven by the beat to core EBIT margin expectations. We currently forecast EPS of €1.83, which is predicated upon core EBIT margin expansion of 30bp”. The shares climbed 47p to 2,906p.

Publisher Pearson (PSON) has confirmed that it is in talks regarding the sale of the iconic Financial Times, although it also stated that nothing was certain at the current point in time. No potential buyers have been formally named but Axel Springer, Bloomberg and Thompson Reuters are all reported to be in the frame. Some reports suggest prices in the range of £1 billion, but analysts say that this is rather overoptimistic. Pearson’s results are due to be released tomorrow. The shares rose by 24p to 1,233p.

Kitchen trade supplier Howden Joinery (HWDN) earned revenues of £482.6 million in the twenty four weeks ended 13th June, a 10.8% increase over the comparative period of the prior year. Pre-tax profits also rose to £57.2 million. Numis Securities stuck to its “add” rating, but did comment that profits were below its forecast of around £60 million. Howden shares dropped by 43.2p to 474.8p.

Paragon Entertainment (PEL) shares fell by 15.29% to 1.8p today despite revenues for the half year ended 30th June rising by 20% to £4.5 million. The design and construction specialist’s loss before tax narrowed to £30,000 from £214,000 in the equivalent period of last year. However, the firm also agreed to pay the Treasury £0.4 million to settle a long-running tax dispute.

Tomorrow’s news today

Anglo American (AAL) and Beazley (BEZ) are among the firms that will publish interim results tomorrow.

Quote of the day

“Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”
– George Washington

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