Little action for markets though Asian shares, predominantly tech-based, were up overnight. The pound was down -0.08% at $1.2870 with the euro slipping -0.12% at $1.1385; small moves indicating little direction or momentum.
Tomorrow brings US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s congressional testimony which may give markets more to chew on. For the time being most global currencies are little changed from the end of last week. “We remain negative on the outlook for the US dollar over the balance of the year,” Scotiabank said yesterday, “as the US growth and yield advantages look less compelling."
It went on: "President Trump’s agenda looks in serious danger of stalling as health care seems to be at an impasse which may slow or endanger progress on other key reforms.”
Oil prices saw a modest uplift overnight with WTI crude up 0.25% at $44.51 and Brent crude at $47, up +0.26%. Gold was down -0.05% at $1,211.48.
- UK FTSE 100 7,370.03 +0.26%
- DOW 21,408.52 -0.03%
- S&P 500 2,427.43 +0.09%
- NASDAQ 6,176.39 +0.38%
- NIKKEI 225 20,195.60 +0.57%
- DAX 12,445.92 +0.46%
- CAC 40 5,165.64 +0.40%
- GOLD 1,210.10 -0.26%
- OIL WTI 44.45 +0.11%
Less discounting at M&S but food down
The main news this morning is from M&S and it's a story of better quarterly revenues thanks to fewer discounts. However both food and clothing sales came under pressure with food – a stalwart for M&S – down 0.1%. Overall group revenues nudged 2.7% higher to £2.53bn overall.
Boss Steve Rowe claims the group is on target though like-for-like sales fell 1.2% for the 13 weeks to 1 July. International revenues were up 3.8% though down 4.0% in constant currency terms. M&S' full-year guidance remains unchanged; its shares are down 3.14% year-to-date but up 6.84% over the year.
“I am pleased that we continue to grow full price sales in Clothing & Home,” says Steve Rowe, “with reduced discounting and no clearance sale in the quarter.”
Galliford Try positive on profits
Housebuilder Galliford Try next. The regeneration and construction operator claims a strong underlying financial and operating performance across all three of its businesses for full year 2017, with profits towards the upper end of analysts' ranges.
Net debt of £9m remains while average net debt over the full year is expected to be lower than previous guidance; some non-recurring costs in Construction has impacted its cash position, acknowledges Galliford. Shares are up almost 40% on the year but down close to 10% year-to-date.
“We enter the financial year with a Group order book of £4.9bn, giving us a solid foundation to deliver growth in FY 2018,” it says. “Overall, we remain well positioned to deliver against our medium-term targets for 60% growth in profit before tax to full year 2021.”
Breaking news: Pearson is to flog a 22% stake in Penguin Random House to joint venture collaborator Bertelsmann SE & Co which will raise around $1bn. Pearson will retain a 25% holding in Penguin.