Sainsbury’s – more below – has claimed ‘record ‘Christmas sales with a profits guidance bump thrown in. Today there was some evidence of brakes being applied in Asian markets despite more soaring US valuations yesterday. Not a huge stamp but some firm dabs: the Nikkei was down -0.26% while Indian and the FTSE Straits Times Index fell modestly as did the South Korean Kospi – Samsung fell more than -2%.
The Hang Seng however saw a +0.42% rise; property player Country Garden Holdings was up +6% and China Resources Land +4.6% higher. Oil was further boosted by concern on US oil inventories which look lower than thought according to new US government data. Both WTI and Brent crude are up +0.76% and +0.48% at $63.44 and $69.15.
Brent is now within touching distance of $70 a barrel, supported by an expanding global economy as well as substantial OPEC and Russian production cuts (though that fragile alliance is under increasing strain as prices rise). Hedge funds have also pushed the rally; there is no sign of immediate shorting.
The World Bank claims global economic growth will likely pick up this year, expanding +3.1% though the longer term picture is more skewed with in-built productivity worries. The pound edged lower overnight to 1.3530 while a stronger Japanese yen pushed the dollar down -0.6% fetching 111.92 yen.
- UK FTSE 100 7,731.02 +0.45%
- DAX 13,385.59 +0.13%
- CAC 40 5,523.94 +0.67%
- Dow 25,385.80 +0.41%
- S&P 500 2,751.29 +0.13%
- Nasdaq 7,163.58 +0.09%
- Nikkei 225 23,788.20 -0.26%
- Gold 1,310.00 -0.28%
- Oil WTI 63.46 +0.79%
Sainsbury’s ups profits guidance
Some relief for Sainsbury’s with third quarter numbers seeing a +1.1% rise – the +1.1% figure compares with an +0.9% average analyst forecast – while pre-tax profits should be “modestly” up on previous expectations. Both online sales and better performance from ‘premium’ ranges all helped push Sainsbury’s forward, plus sales support from in-store Argos hubs.
"General Merchandise and Clothing grew market share in a challenging market,” said chief exec Mike Coupe. “Argos stores in Sainsbury's supermarkets performed particularly well and Argos saw record sales across the Black Friday period.” Sainsbury's shares have lifted +3% in the last week but only +1% in the last six months. Its shares were selling at 248.30p this morning.
Taylor Wimpey claims +4% house price bump
Also out this morning is a full-year trading update from Taylor Wimpey. The Brit housebuilder says it saw an annual +4% rise in selling prices – average prices coming in at £264,000 – while it built +5% more homes overall.
“We continued to see good demand and trading throughout the year. Customers continued to benefit from a wide range of mortgage products, low interest rates and the Government's Help to Buy scheme.” Taylor Wimpey shares at 208p are up more than +23% in the last 12 months.
Fashion retailer Ted Baker has issued an eight-week update also. Retail sales were up +9% up to 6 January with gross margins in line with expectations it claims. “We expect to end the year with a clean stock position,” said the company this morning. Online sales were encouraging over the Christmas period says the retailer – +35% higher than last year.
Breaking news: Moss Bros slashes its profit forecast for the full year. “We faced a very tough December trading environment, which led to a significant reduction in store footfall and a hardening of the corresponding competitive environment in which we operate.”