New quarterly numbers from UK grocer Sainsbury’s show some optimism (more of below). Over in the US the Dow Jones surged to a intra-day high on Monday of 21,562.75 though it fell back to 21,479 at close of business. However unease around recent high valuations continues.
The better US trade numbers also support a Fed rate rise, looking further ahead. A more confident dollar, bolstered by better manufacturing numbers, impacted the euro yesterday, down -0.70% to $1.1342 while the pound fell -0.62% to $1.2935.
Expect UK PMI (Construction) numbers this morning at 9.30am while there’s producer price index numbers coming out of the EU at 11am. US markets are closed for 4th of July celebrations today.
- UK FTSE 100 7,377.09 +0.88%
- Dow 21,479.27 +0.61%
- S&P 500 2,429.01 +0.23%
- Nasdaq 6,110.06 -0.49%
- Nikkei 225 20,001.07 -0.27%
- DAX 12,475.31 +1.22%
- CAC 40 5,195.72 +1.47%
- Gold 1,224.40 +0.43%
- Oil WTI 46.85 -0.47%
Sainsbury's clothes and food sales up
Let’s get into the detail with J Sainsbury’s. All-important like-for-like sales were up 2.3% in the first quarter of 2017. Grocery sales growth surged 3.0% compared to 0.3% in the previous quarter. Sainsbury’s are claiming that the total retail sales lift (not including like-for-like) saw a 2.7% trading rise.
General Merchandise and Clothing, including Argos, outperformed the market, claims Sainsbury’s. The grocer is also claiming strong food sales from new summer eating ranges “with volume growth of over one per cent”.
However lurking in the background is Sainsbury’s takeover bid for Nisa. This is looking increasingly tricky due to Nisa’s complex ownership set-up. Many Nisa members are strongly independent and will have a say in any deal. Also, Amazon’s recent move to snap up Whole Foods has highly unnerved the retail sector. Who – what? – next?
Brownfield specialist St. Modwen claims 'resilience'
We move onto half-year numbers from St. Modwen Properties plc. It claims a “resilient” performance for the last six months with NAV per share rising to 468.4p, up 1.7%. Pre-tax profits come in at £29.3m compared to £30.0m this time last year.
The interim dividend is up 4.1% to 2.02p. The specialist brownfield regeneration player claims residential operating profits of £13.4m (2016: £12.9m) supported by “excellent progress” from St. Modwen Homes which saw 55% profit growth, offsetting the planned decline in the Persimmon JV.
"The business continued its resilient performance,” says CEO Mark Allan, “across the first six months of the year, despite an uncertain market environment, with all parts of the Group contributing positively.”
Wizz Air passenger numbers up in June
Lastly Wizz Air claims it bumped up passenger numbers by 24% in June, from 2,013,032 to 2,487,553. The load factor was also up, from 91.7% to 92.3%.
The Budapest-based airline opened a base at Luton airport also in June as part of its expansion strategy. Around a third of all Wizz Air flights use Luton as their base.
Breaking news: Reserve Bank of Australia leaves interest rates at 1.5% for a tenth session. Oz shares have climbed consquently.