Shares edged a mite higher for the FTSE 100 on Monday, up +0.05% to 7,300.86. Over in the US the Dow was up +0.03% to 21,012.28. Apple shares surged 2.72% to more than $153, helped by bullish comments from Warren Buffett, while there were share price bumps also for Exxon and Chevron, up 1.06% and 0.84%.
This morning gold was trading at $1,226.60 an ounce, up 0.10% with Brent Oil at $49.21, down -0.43%. Against the euro the dollar was up 0.01% at 1.092 with the dollar at 1.295 again the pound.
Politically in the UK Theresa May has confirmed she will cap energy bill hikes if the Conservatives win the election though industry critics claim the move may be counter-productive.
We start with FTSE 100 newcomer Micro Focus and a potential revenues dip. For the year to 30 April Micro Focus says it expects to report revenues “within the range of management guidance of flat to minus 2%.”
Indications so far show that HPE Software's revenue was down around 10% year-on-year in the quarter up to 30 April on a reported basis. Micro Focus bought HPE’s software division last year.
“We are encouraged,” said executive chairman Kevin Loosemore, “by the early progress that HPE Software's management are making on implementing operational efficiencies and the speed of change in the business.”
Big-ticket rate pressure
We move onto a trading statement from FTSE 250 insurance operator Hiscox. Gross written premiums grew 17.3% to £751.2m (2016 £640.5m) driven by a strong performance from Hiscox Retail.
“There has been no improvement in the rating environment in big-ticket business,” says Hiscox, “where a continuation of a lack of major loss events, excess capital and strong competition continues to put pressure on rates.”
The pressure is severe in the London Market where Hiscox says it’s seeing double-digit declines from marine, energy and US large property accounts. Hiscox Ltd shares are up 14.5% YTD at 1,164p.
Gaming net revenues up
Lastly, a quick look at William Hill for the 17 weeks to 25 April. William Hill claims online Sportsbook amounts wagered are up 9% while gaming net revenue are up 8% following product improvements.
The bookie says they expect to see £40m of cost efficiencies, largely for reinvestment, by the end of 2017. Market expectations are on track overall.
“Retail,” says boss Philip Bowcock, “is also seeing positive trends while our key international markets continue to perform well with double-digit wagering growth.” William Hill shares are up 3.4% YTD at 297.94p.