A rash of good and not-so-good UK retail Christmas results arrive this morning (more below). Overnight there was some concern for Asian sentiment: shares in Samsung Electronics touched a 16-week low amidst a background of tech sell-off across the region, broadly. Hong Kong-listed Tencent was heavily down; also Lenovo Group.
The weaker numbers – the Nikkei slipped -0.33% and the Asia Dow -0.28% – followed local currency gains plus some nervousness coming out of Wall Street last night: all main US indexes were down with the Nasdaq -0.14% lower at 7,153.
In the background to some leaking red US ink was rising US bond yields not to mention uncertainty about the North American Free Trade Agreement (a Trump announcement is expected). Quite a fragmented picture.
Overnight the pound was -0.17% lower buying 1.3490 US currency while the dollar lifted almost +0.5% against the yen, fetching 111.85 with the euro up +0.33% against the Japanese currency. Bitcoin slumped more than -8% to $13,587.50 (7.40am).
- UK FTSE 100 7,748.51 +0.23%
- DAX 13,281.34 -0.78%
- CAC 40 5,504.68 -0.35%
- Euro Stoxx 600 398.60 -0.38%
- Dow 25,369.13 -0.07%
- S&P 500 2,748.23 -0.11%
- Nasdaq 7,153.57 -0.14%
- Nikkei 225 23,710.43 -0.33%
- Gold 1,318.10 -0.09%
- Oil WTI 63.53 -0.06%
M&S sales down, Tesco sales up
M&S reported further falling sales for the third quarter this morning. While a -2.8% fall for clothing sales was not a complete shock, food sales – the one bright spot usually for M&S – was down -0.4%. In total, M&S sales slip -1.4%. Crucially though overall full-year guidance from M&S has not changed.
For food, “ongoing trading pressures continued in the lead up to Christmas as consumer spending and choices reflected tighter budgets,” said M&S in a statement. International revenues was also down, “reflecting the completion of the planned closure of owned stores in loss-making markets”.
Driving over to Tesco, much more Christmas cheer: the UK’s biggest grocer claims food sales soared +3.4% over the four-week Christmas sales period while for the last quarter like-for-like sales improved +2.3%.
“Our trading momentum accelerated across the third quarter and into December,” said chief exec Dave Lewis, “with the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day delivering record sales and volumes in the UK."
Tesco shares at 211p are up +3.1% in the last month but are +22.7% ahead on the last six months.
Barratt reports six-month sales lift
Away from the high street Barratt reported a six-month update this morning. Total completions including joint ventures for the UK's biggest housebuilder came in at 7,324 compared to 7,180 in 2016 with total plots forward sold up +3.8% at 10,921. Average selling prices climbed +6% to £281,000.
In the last six months “the purchase of £641.2m (2016: £328.2m) of operational land was approved, equating to 51 sites (2016: 39 sites) and 13,263 plots (2016: 5,262 plots). We expect to approve over 20,000 plots in FY18 as a whole”.
Breaking news: Retailer Boohoo reports retail sales have doubled in the last four months. House of Fraser sales slipped almost -3% for the six weeks up to Christmas.