Much of the big market news today is dominated by 21st Century Fox’s attempt to buy the remaining 61% chunk of Sky at a cost of £11.7bn; owner Rupert Murdoch already owns 39% of the broadcaster. Considerable concern about ‘undue influence’ remains – the ability to shape and frame consumer opinion – not to mention 'fit and proper' worries.
Overnight the pound crept slightly higher but was trading around $1.2963 at 7am, up 0.15%. The euro is up slightly higher at $1.1405, up 0.19%.
Today, a rash of home and international data emerges including the Nationwide house price index (7am) and mortgage approvals at 9.30am. US GDP and job numbers arrives at 1.30pm.
- UK FTSE 100 7,387.80 -0.63%
- Dow 21,454.61 +0.68%
- S&P 500 2,440.69 +0.88%
- Nasdaq 6,234.41 +1.43%
- Nikkei 225 20,216.34 +0.43%
- DAX 12,647.27 -0.19%
- CAC 40 5,252.90 -0.11%
- Gold 1,252.00 +0.23%
- Oil WTI 44.99 +0.56%
An update from JD Sports first. Interim numbers arrive 12 September but exec chairman Peter Cowgill warns that JD Sports does not think “like-for-like store sales comparatives will be truly meaningful until the end of the first half”.
Cowgill says growth to date in Group like-for-like store sales “and further significant growth in the Group's online sales have," he says, "been in line with our expectations”.
While Cowgill acknowledges some anticipated margin pressure in achieving sales growth, “the Board considers that the Group is currently on track to deliver a result for the full year in line with market expectations”. JD Sports Fashion shares are up 25% year-to-date at 397p.
Gatwick flies higher
Gatwick Airport claims better revenues, up 7.7% to £725m for the 12 months to March. There’s also a 12.9% climb in earnings to £373.6m. Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport, says long-haul routes are growing at 13.6% and represent one in five of Gatwick’s passengers. He says he’s still hopeful of a second runway.
“We continue to offer the UK a financeable and deliverable second runway scheme which we stand ready to deliver should the Government give us the go-ahead.”
Last year the Airports Commision said a second runway at Gatwick would cost £7.1bn compared with £17.6bn for a third runway at Heathrow.
Tesco urges Booker Group decision
Lastly, Tesco says it has asked the UK competition regulator to “fast track” its merger with wholesaler Booker Group. “We have now requested that the CMA uses the "fast track" process to allow it to move more quickly to examining the Merger through a detailed Phase 2 process.”
Tesco expects – or hopes – the CMA “to issue an early decision to refer to Phase 2 within the next two weeks”. However some suppliers will be anxious about Tesco’s move into the wholesale market, possibly undermining competition. Some Tesco investors, including Schroders, remain doubtful about the value of the deal for shareholders.
Breaking news: Greene King revenues rise 6.9%. PwC is being investigated by the Financial Reporting Council over BT's results 2015-2015.