Thursday’s Master Investor Market Report, featuring ITV, Aggreko, Mitchells & Butlers and Sirius Minerals

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    • The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has said that a lack of houses coming on to the market is driving the continued increase in prices, as demand from buyers remains unchanged while the number of new instructions for sale decreased for the eighth time in 9 months. RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn commented that “it is conceivable that the decisive outcome to the election could encourage a pick-up in instructions to agents and ease some of the recent upward pressure on house prices, but it is doubtful that this will be substantive enough to provide anything more than temporary relief”.
    • The Governor of the Bank of England has said that the promised in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union should happen as soon as necessary. Mr Carney warned that delaying the decision would cause uncertainty and commented that “it’s in the interests of everybody that there is clarity about the process and the question and the decision”. When asked about the prospect of a rise in interest rates, the Governor responded that “it is possible but it depends on the evolution of the economy. What we are not going to do is put up rates too soon or too fast”.
    • The FTSE 100 grew by 23.41 points to 6,973.04 points; the FTSE 250 rose by 67.80 points to 17,861.53; the FTSE All Share increased by 12.80 points to 3,782.49 points; and the FTSE AIM All Share finished the day down 0.44 points at 759.47 points.

Broadcaster and entertainment firm ITV (ITV) said that external revenues for the 3 months to 31st March rose by 14% to £665 million, driven by strong performances from its online offering and ITV Studios. Since the end of the period, the company has acquired Talpa Media which management believe will contribute to growth via a number of widely licenced formats. However, staff are beginning to strike, which may have an impact on second quarter results. Numis downgraded the firm to an “add” rating. Shares in ITV dropped by 2.7p to 257.3p.

Power and temperature control solutions provider Aggreko (AGK) recorded an 8% increase in revenues for the first quarter of 2015, despite a 13% drop in income from its Asia, Pacific and Australia arm. The company is unsure to what extent lower oil prices will impact business going forward as shale producers in the US reduce volumes and become more sensitive to price, but management believe that overall results for the first half of the year will be weaker than in 2014. The shares fell by 5p to 1,619p.

Miner Sirius Minerals (SXX) has been informed of the details of the report that will be presented by planning officers from the North York Moors National Park Authority. It is likely that the report recommends the development to be considered on relevant planning conditions. The company has also asked that its shares be suspended from trading on 30th of June whilst the planning committee meeting is ongoing. Chris Fraser, CEO of Sirius, said “we are very pleased to be heading towards a decision by the members and have confidence in the strength of our planning case, the huge levels of support for the application and the many wide ranging economic benefits that the Project will deliver to the local area and to the country at large”. The shares grew by 1.5p to 15.5p.

Pub chain operator Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) recorded a 9.5% increase in total revenues over the 28 weeks ended 11th April, driven by 9 new site openings as well as a number of conversions and organic volume improvements. However, operating margins fell due to the incomplete integration of the Orchid chain and an increased share of revenues from food sales. Canaccord gave the firm a “buy” rating and said “Mitchells & Butlers needs to continue to build more momentum into its like-for-like performance to prove that its ‘long-game’ is working. The restoration of a dividend would signal that the company is back to good health“. Mitchells & Butlers shares
added 2.9p to finish at 450.6p.

Friday’s news today

US Industrial Production data will be published.

Quote of the day

“The main purpose of the stock market is to make fools of as many men as possible.”
― Bernard Baruch

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