- The Confederation of British Industry has said that businesses should step in to the debate on EU membership early and stated that remaining in the organisation was in the country’s best interests. The remarks were made by the CBI’s President Sir Mike Rake ahead of the organisation’s annual dinner. Sir Mike told the BBC that “most businesses and governments want to see a reform that allows us to grow. Reforms can be made that we believe can improve our competitiveness without the need for treaty change”.
- The Japanese economy grew faster than anticipated in the first quarter of 2015, expanding by 0.6% relative to the preceding quarter. Analysts had forecast a rate of 0.4% for the period and Complete Intelligence’s Chief Economist Tony Nash said Japan’s “recovery seems to be well on track” after the country exited recession in the final quarter of 2015. However, inventories grew during the 3 months and it is not believed that the same momentum will persist in the second quarter.
- The FTSE 100 advanced by 13.02 points to 7,008.12 points; the FTSE 250 fell by 39.92 points to 18,136.70; the FTSE All Share increased by 4.27 points to 3,805.77 points; and the FTSE AIM All Share finished the day down 0.17 points at 762.26 points.
Fashion house Burberry (BRBY) recorded an 8% increase in revenues to £2.5 billion for the year ended 31st March, but management warned that it was seeing uncertainty in some of its markets including mainland China where growth was decelerating and Hong Kong where spending dropped in the second half of the year. Nomura reiterated a “buy” position on the stock and commented that “we would use any short-term weakness as an opportunity; however, we note a cautious outlook statement and pricing decisions, which we will watch carefully for short-term read-across”. Shares in the firm dropped by 91p to 1,717p.
Energy firm SSE (SSE) saw revenues rise by 3.5% to £31.6 billion during the year ended 31st March and profits before taxation grew by 24% to £735 million. Management increased the full year dividend by 2% to 88.4p, but warned that there could be difficulty in maintaining both dividend growth and cover ratios in the coming years. Bank of America Merrill Lynch commented that the yield represented a premium but feared that “the generation market recovery required to drive growth will probably remain elusive, and we think uncertainties associated with the CMA investigation and wind subsidies will overshadow”. The shares fell by 15p to 1,681p.
Online estate agency Zoopla Property Group (ZPLA) saw its revenues for the 6 months ended 31st March rise by 10% to £42 million, despite a 16% fall in customer numbers. Average revenues per advertiser improved in line with an increased number of page visits which was largely due to heavier mobile traffic. Management expect agency customer churn to slow in the coming period and remain confident in the firm’s long term growth prospects. The shares declined by 7.1p to 222.9p.
Systems and software designer Cyan Holdings (CYAN) has received a letter of intent from a client in West Africa for a $3 million (£1.93 million) electrical smart meter order. The company will immediately begin to work towards finalising the agreement. The company has previously worked with the client on a similar project in India. CEO John Cronin said “this is a substantial commercial opportunity for Cyan which also could accelerate entry into other key countries”. Cyan shares rose by 0.04p to 0.28p.
Thursday’s news today
Royal Mail (RMG), Investec (INVP) and Mothercare (MTC) are among the companies publishing reports tomorrow.
Quote of the day
“If a business does well, the stock eventually follows…”
― Warren Buffett