Weekly review

By Josh White

Date: Friday 10 Jan 2020

(Sharecast News) - The FTSE 100 ended the week down 34.55 points at 7,587.85.
Equity view

Paper and packaging firm Mondi said chief executive Peter Oswald would step down and leave the group on March 31.

JD Sports Fashion said it expected full year profits to be in the upper quartile of expectations after positive like for like Christmas sales, especially from its overseas operations.

Ryanair on Friday raised its full year profits guidance after a stronger-than-expected Christmas and New Year travel period and despite underperformance from its Austrian Laudamotion unit.

AIM-listed fashion retailer Joules issued a profit warning on Friday after its Christmas trading performance was hit by stock availability issues.

British retailer Tesco reported a 0.1% rise in underlying UK Christmas sales in what it described as a "subdued" market.

Building materials group SIG issued a profit warning on Thursday as it pointed to a deterioration in construction markets.

Dunelm Group updated the market on its second quarter on Thursday, reporting a 5% improvement in total like-for-like sales, which it said reflected "strong growth" across the total retail system, especially given the strength of the comparative period a year earlier where total like-for-like sales grew 10.8%.

Marks & Spencer reported a decline in third-quarter sales on Thursday as the clothing and home segment underperformed and the retailer cautioned that gross margins for the year would be at the lower end of guidance.

Sainsbury's reported a decline in its total retail sales over the Christmas quarter on Wednesday, but pointed to "strong" grocery performance and online growth during the 15 weeks ended 4 January.

Anglo American confirmed it is in advanced discussions with Sirius Minerals in relation to a possible offer, it said on Wednesday, at a value of 5.5p per Sirius share, in cash.

Discount footwear retailer Shoe Zone posted a rise in full-year revenue on Wednesday but a drop in profit as it pointed to the "burden" of business rates.

Bakery chain Greggs said it would pay £7m to employees as it delivered a tasty 13.5% rise in full year sales and upgraded its profit forecast, but warned of cost inflation and comparative headwinds ahead.

Supermarket group Morrisons reported a fall in like-for-like sales over the Christmas period in what it described as "unusually challenging" conditions and "continued uncertainty" among customers.

Premier Oil updated the market on its trading ahead of its full-year results on Tuesday, reporting 2019 production of 78,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which was at the upper end of its full-year guidance.

Online gambling entertainment and solutions provider 888 Holdings updated the market on the year ended 31 December on Tuesday, reporting continued progress during the second half culminating in all-time monthly record revenue in December.

Self-storage firm Safestore recorded a significant drop in pre-tax profits in the year ended 31 October despite having delivered an increase in revenues.

Compass Group said on Monday that Paul Walsh plans to step down as chairman "to focus on his other business interests".

Business park operator Sirius Real Estate said it had bought two properties in Germany for a combined total of €33.4m (£28.5m), reflecting an aggregate net initial yield of 6.8%.

European low-cost airline Wizz Air on Monday reported a 24.7% rise in December passenger numbers.

AstraZeneca cleared two regulatory approvals on Monday - one for 'Farxiga' in the United States, and one for 'Lokelma' in China.

Economic news

The UK government has pledged £71.0m in funding for the former SSI steelworks site in Redcar as Boris Johnson seeks to cement his support in the former Labour strongholds he took over in the last general election.

The latest official assessment of progress of the Crossrail project in London was released on Friday, suggesting the new central London service would now be delayed until the summer of 2021.

Sterling lost ground on Thursday after outgoing Bank of England governor Mark Carney struck a dovish tone in a speech at an event on inflation targeting, suggesting that the central bank could cut interest rates soon.

Chief European Union negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier said on Thursday that it was highly unlikely that a comprehensive agreement on post-Brexit trade with the UK will be achieved in the next 11 months.

UK house prices rose at their fastest monthly pace in a year in December, according to mortgage lender Halifax.

The British high street endured its worst year on record in 2019, the British Retail Consortium said on Thursday, as political turmoil weighed on consumer confidence and dented festive demand.

UK supermarket sales growth slowed to the lowest rate in four years over the Christmas period.

The UK's use of renewable energies was up 9.0% in 2019, outpacing that of fossil fuel plants on 137 days, which made for the greenest year to date.

Activity in the UK services sector stabilised in December, underpinned by the General Election, according to a survey released on Monday.

New car registrations rose 3.4% year-on-year in December, preventing the worst year for sales since 2013.

International events

The US House of Representatives approved a resolution to limit Donald Trump's power to decide on taking military action in Iran.

America's economy generated fewer jobs than expected as hiring in both manufacturing and services cooled, alongside only modest wage growth.

German industrial production rose more than expected in November, according to figures released by Destatis on Thursday.

The number of people claiming unemployment for the first time in the USfell by more than expected during the last week, returning to the underlying trend that was in place before a Christmas induced jump due to the difficulty of adjusting for seasonal quirks in the data, economists said.

The US is continuing to pressure the UK on its decision on whether to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to be involved in the development of its 5G network.

Private sector employment in the US rose more than expected in December, according to figures released by ADP on Wednesday.

Eurozone inflation rose in December, boosted primarily by higher energy costs, official data showed on Tuesday.

America's shortfall in trade with the rest of the world narrowed sharply in November on the back of a sharp drop in the country's purchases.

Business activity in the eurozone remained close to stagnation in December, according to a survey released on Monday.

Tech giants have asked Brussels not to hold them liable for the illegal content posted by users on their platforms and have pledged to boost efforts to remove the content and avoid harmful activity on their platforms.


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