Next stores recover | Glencore boosts dividend
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5pm: London flat
The FTSE 100 closed almost flat at 7,448.06, up 2.38.
12.05pm: Bank decision
Interest rates will rise by 0.5 basis points to 1.75%, the Bank of England said. Full story here
10am: Blue chips lower
The FTSE 100 dipped into negative territory ahead of the Bank of England’s statement on interest rates, trading 18 points lower at 7,427.43.
7am: Phoenix acquisition
Phoenix Group is acquiring Sun Life UK, a closed book UK life insurance company, from Sun Life Financial in a £248 million deal. Full story here
7am: Next stores recover
Clothing and homeware chain Next said sales in the first half of the year have been dominated by a sharp reversal of last year’s lockdown trends with shoppers ditching casuals and reverting to more formalwear.
Sales in retail stores recovered, benefiting from the closure of rival stores, while online growth appears to have reverted back to its longer term trajectory.
“Many product trends have also returned to pre-pandemic norms. Lockdown winners such as Home and Sportswear retreated, while formalwear returned to favour,” it said in an update.
As anticipated, online returns rates and surplus stock also reverted to pre-lockdown levels.
“We suspect that the apparent improvement in the fortunes of our stores is, to some extent, down to the number of competing stores that have closed in the last three years.”
Q2 full price sales were 5% higher than last year, £50m ahead of previous guidance.
Full price sales guidance for the second half is maintained at 1% and profit guidance is increased by £10m to £860m.
Commodities company Glencore posted a $10.3 billion increase (119%) in group adjusted EBITDA to $18.9bn for the half year
It has announced a “top-up” shareholder return of $4.5bn, comprising a $1.45bn special distribution ($0.11/share) and a $3bn share buyback (c.$0.23 per share).
Chief executive Gary Nagle, said it had been an “exceptional” financial performance.
“Allied to the record EBITDA, our net working capital significantly increased during the period, with some $5 billion invested into Marketing, primarily Energy, in line with the materially higher oil, gas and coal prices, and their elevated volatilities.
“Looking ahead, tightening financial conditions and a deteriorating macroeconomic environment present some uncertainty for commodity markets through the second half of the year.
“However, with few short-term solutions to rebalance global energy markets, coal and LNG prices look set to remain elevated during this period, particularly given the current challenge of securing sufficient and reliable energy supply for the Northern hemisphere winter ahead.”
Asian stocks responded positively to a strong rally on Wall Street which switched attention fro tension in Taiwan to robust economic data and upbeat corporate statements.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.58%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.24% and Shanghai Composite climbed 0.5%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1.3%, the S&P 500 added 1.6% and the Nasdaq Composite surged 2.6%.
Brent crude futures rose 53 cents to $97.31 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 55 cents to $91.21.