London’s Big Board was up 0.59% higher on Wednesday at 7,385.24 edging closer to 7,400 helped by gains for oil players. Hargreaves Lansdown and ABF Foods were the main movers overall, up 2.70% and 2.38% to 1,466p and 2,877p. Last night the Dow closed at 20,943.11.
Sterling hit an intraday high of $1.2988 yesterday (currently 1.29435, up 3.23% over the month). Today, eyes down for the Bank of England’s policy update - inflation and interest rate decision. Watch also for new manufacturing and industrial production updates.
Over in the US, Snapchat has seen higher net losses, to $2.2bn compared to $104.6m; daily active users grew just 5%.
BT sheds jobs
Let's commence with BT and an announcement that CEO Gavin Patterson plus outgoing group finance director Tony Chanmugam will not receive a bonus over a grim year for BT, including the shock £530m Italian writedown.
“Our performance,” BT said, “has been significantly affected by the accounting irregularities in our Italian business, the issues that arose in Openreach around Deemed Consent and the significant challenges we faced in the UK public sector and international corporate markets.”
In the next two years BT says it’s taking the axe to up to 4,000 managerial and back-office roles as part of a move to slim its Global Services division. BT shares are 16% down YTD at 307.90p.
Price hikes for Mondi
Next, packaging player Mondi and a 6% slip in underlying profit for the first quarter to €252m. Underlying operating profit however climbed 12% on Q4 2016 thanks to higher sales and price inflation.
Selling prices for the Group’s main paper grades were, on average, below those of last year as prices dipped during 2016.
“Supported by good demand, we have successfully implemented price increases in a number of key paper grades and we expect to continue to benefit from our recently completed capital projects and acquisitions.” Mondi shares are up 17% YTD currently 1,956p.
SuperGroup boosted from weak pound
We end with a quick look at SuperGroup. Group revenues for the full year are up 27.2% to £750.6m with revenues benefitting from sterling's weakness. However gross margins are predicted to fall “in the range of 120 bps to 140 bps” says SuperGroup.
For Retail, there is like-for-like sales growth of 9.4% for the fourth quarter and full year like-for-like growth of 12.7%. The impact of currency changes account for around a third of the reported growth in each of the Group's sales channels says the company.
SuperGroup expects full year profit will still be in the range of £86m-£87m, in line with expectations. SuperGroup shares have soared more than 30% in the last 12 months. Last night they were trading at 1,651p.