The part-finish of the Asian holiday break released some strong performances earlier with the Nikkei surging almost +2% while the South Korean Kospi was up +0.90%. (Chinese markets were still closed while US markets will close for Presidents’ Day today.) The Nikkei saw Toho Zinc Co surge more than +7% while Yamaha Corp was up almost +5%.
Oil prices also have firmed with prices hitting their highest levels for almost a fortnight. US WTI is +1.27% up at $62.37 while Brent crude is +0.77% higher at $65.34 (7am London time) as the fight between OPEC and shale producers continues. A price range of between $60-$70 continues to look realistic. Gold meanwhile continues to come close to an 18-month high at $1,350.30.
Overnight sterling crept +0.14% to 1.4031 while the pound was +0.03% higher against the euro. The dollar remains near three year lows across a range of currencies; the dollar spot was -0.05% this morning at 89.11. No major market-sensitive economic data is expected today.
- UK FTSE 100 7,294.70 +0.83%
- DAX 12,451.96 +0.86%
- CAC 40 5,281.58 +1.13%
- Euro Stoxx 600 380.62 +1.09%
- Dow 25,219.38 +0.08%
- S&P 500 2,732.22 +0.04%
- Nasdaq 7,239.47 -0.23%
- Nikkei 225 22,149.21 +1.97%
- Gold 1,349.80 -0.47%
- Oil WTI 62.36 +1.10%
Sales flat at Reckitt Benckiser
Durex and Clearasil maker Reckitt Benckiser says full-year annual profits surged more than +230%, boosted by its $17.9bn Mead Johnson buy-up, while net income leapt to more than £6bn. The dividend per share also climbs to 97.7p from 95.0p.
However all-important like-for-like revenues were flat for the year. Q4 though saw a “volume-led” +2% like-for-like increase in revenues underpinned by broad-based growth of +5% in consumer health and +2% in hygiene said the company.
For 2018 Reckitt says it’s targeting +13-14% total revenue growth (implying +2-3% like-for-like revenue growth). “Whilst 2018 will see some specific factors impacting margin, we reiterate our medium-term target of moderate operating margin expansion."
Reckitt’s share price at 6,567.00p remains down almost -5% on the year though it has inched +2.6% higher in the last week.
Spectris profits and sales climb
Earlier instruments and optics company Spectris released full-year 2017 numbers with sales up +13% to £1,525.6m though this is cut to +6% on a like-for-like basis. Operating profits are +17% higher at £239.3m.
Spectris says it expects more organic sales growth for 2018, partly offset by investment in strategic growth initiatives and (likely) foreign currency exchange headwinds.
“Our balance sheet remains strong and we will continue to make acquisitions to support this strategy as we expand our software and services capability." Spectris shares are up more than +5% in the last week and are +60% higher over two years.
Breaking news: Insurer Saga's new chairman is Patrick O'Sullivan of Old Mutual.