Agenda: Busy day for British corporates
Welcome to our live markets blog. Markets across Europe ended pretty mixed yesterday with the biggest pressure on the FTSE 100 index coming from sterling, which made solid gains through the session after GDP figures for July beat analysts’ expectations, dampening fears that the UK is sliding towards a recession.
5 things to start your day
1)The UK’s chances of sliding into recession for the first time in a decade havedramatically recededafter official figures revealed surprisingly strong growth in July. Despite ongoing turmoil at Westminster over Brexit and a likely general election, forecasters at the National Institute for Economic and Social Research now put the chances of recession at just 10 pc after a much better than expected 0.3pc expansion for the UK economy during the month.
2)(C) an corner shops survive?When larger supermarkets made their move into the convenience store sector, Britain’s humble corner shops were forced to find new ways to survive. Over the last seven years, the sector has diversified the range of products and services they offer to consumers by offering parcel collection or Post Office counters.
3)Elliott Management, the $ 38 bn New York hedge fund that bears Paul Singer’s middle name, jolted Wall Street byrevealing a $ 3.2bn stake in America’s biggest operator. AT&T shares climbed as much as 8pc as traders placed their bets for the battle to come.
4)Sage Group, Britain’s biggest listed technology company,confirmed that it is putting its payment processing unit Sage Pay up for sale. The FTSE 100 software company, which disposed of its payroll division earlier this year and its US payments software business in 2017, said it was “evaluating potential strategic options” for the business, including a sale.
5)Will the UK run out of insulin and other vital medicines in a no-deal Brexit? Even if the worst disruption can be avoided, the nature of the sector means that small-scale shortages can have a major detrimental impact on customers who are affected.
Coming up today
Today is a busy one on the corporate calendar.
Construction equipment rental company Ashtead had a booming 2018 / 19, but the latest trends in the US construction sector – where it makes 90 pc of its sales – suggest storm clouds may be on the horizon, while Brexit is piling pressure on to its smaller UK wing .
JD Sports will also report interim results. Its strong relationships with suppliers have played well with analysts in recent reports, leading it to outperform much of the tepid retail market. The trainer specialist only entered the blue-chip index in June, so investors will be watching closely to see if it is likely to keep a foothold.
Finally, Bovis Homes will also report results, which will be scrutinized for signs that it is managing to improve its margins. “A half-year trading statement revealed completions and sales rates are moving in the right direction at Bovis – and a trend towards more lucrative locations is helping underpin selling price,” said Hargreaves Lansdown’s Sophie Lund-Yates. “That’s ticked some important boxes, but more progress is required,” she added.
Interim results:888 Holdings, Ashtead, Bakkavor, Bovis, IP Group, JD Sports
Economics:Jobless claims and unemployment, trade balance, construction output (UK)