It’s anticipated the FTSE 100 may open lower this morning after racking up it’s best ever performance yesterday, hitting 7,522 points thanks to robust mining support. The US markets closed yesterday with the Nasdaq up 20 points at 6,170 while the S&P 500 was a touch soft, down two points to 2,400.
It was a bad day for the dollar, losing strength across most headline currencies as worries that the US economy may be cooling continued. Oil prices were also on the retreat with Brent crude down a dollar per barrel.
This morning the euro was maintaining its stride at 1.11070 while the pound was at 1.29405. We have EU Consumer Price Index data at 10am with US Crude Oil Inventories arriving at 3.30pm.
- UK FTSE 100 7,522.03 +0.91%
- Dow 20,979.75 -0.01%
- S&P 500 2,400.67 -0.07%
- Nasdaq 6,169.87 +0.33%
- DAX 30 12,804.53 -0.02%
- CAC 40 5,406.10 -0.21%
- Gold 1,243.40 +0.30%
- Oil WTI 48.26 -0.82%
Government sells final shares
The big company news this morning is Lloyds. “Lloyds Banking Group welcomes the news today,” the company said in a statement this morning, “that the government has sold its remaining stake, returning the Group to full private ownership.”
More than £20.3bn of taxpayer cash was used to save Lloyds and more than 57,000 jobs cut. Including dividend payments the overall £20bn, which gave the public a 43% stake at one point, has been recouped. Lloyds recently reported a £4.3bn profit.
However the profit for taxpayers is thought to be just £894m. While returned to the private sector – the government has been steadily selling off chunks of Lloyds for the last five years – Royal Bank of Scotland remains largely in public hands, 73% owned by UK taxpayers.
SSE dividend up
Next, SSE which issued preliminary numbers this morning. Operating profit climbs 2.7% to £1,874m while adjusted earnings per share is 5.2% up, to 125.7p. The full-year dividend climbs 2.1% to 91.3p.
Results for 2016/17 are significantly higher than those for 2015/16 due to the impact on reported profit before tax of significant exceptional charges incurred in 2015/16, says SSE.
SSE says it’s targeting an annual increase in the full-year dividend that is at least equal to RPI inflation. SSE shares are at 1,444.43p, down -6.75% YTD. JP Morgan Cazenove recently indicated 6.8% potential upside on the shares with a 1540p target price.
Impact of late Easter
Lastly we drop by at pub player Mitchells & Butlers. For the 28 weeks to 8 April like-for-like sales are up 1.6% while adjusted operating profit is clipped to £149m compared to £156m this time last year. These numbers are affected by a late Easter Mitchells & Butlers says.
On a reported basis there’s total revenue of £1,123m compared to £1,096m this time last year. Margins have been impacted by increased costs, most notably from wage inflation, property costs and exchange rate movements, says the company.
“Overall, we are pleased with the turnaround in our sales trajectory and relative performance against the market,” the company said in a statement.