Daily Business Live
Wall Street rises on Biden hopes; DMGT group revenue falls
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4.30pm: Index falls
Despite the rising market in the US the FTSE 100 closed just shy of 25 points lower at 6,715.42.
4.20pm: NI extends restrictions
Coronavirus lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland extended until 5 March.
2.45pm: Wall Street at near-high
Wall Street’s main indexes opened near record highs as investors expect more Covid pandemic relief and a quickening of vaccine roll-outs under the Biden administration to support the economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 9.6 points, or 0.03%, higher at the open. The S&P 500 edged up 5.6 points, or 0.15%, while the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite rose 64.2 points, or 0.48%, to an all-time high.
11.30am: Manufacturing stabilises
Manufacturing output stabilised in the quarter to January, following fifteen consecutive months of decline, according to the latest CBI quarterly Industrial Trends Survey.
The survey of 291 manufacturers also found that total new orders fell moderately in the three months to January, after stabilising in the quarter to October, and prior to that, falling for five quarters in a row.
A sharp decline was seen in domestic orders, while export orders fell at a similar pace to October.
8.15am: Blue chips rise
London’s FTSE 100 was 21.22 points higher at 6,761.61 in line with predictions, taking its lead from positive sessions in the US and most of Asia after Joe Biden’s inauguration.
7am: Daily Mail & General Trust
Underlying group revenue at DMGT in the first quarter came in 15% lower at £304m.
Circulation revenue declined by an underlying 7%, reflecting expected volume reductions partly offset by the benefit of a 10p cover price increase of the Saturday edition of the Daily Mail to £1.10 in January 2020.
On a reported basis, circulation revenue declined by 2%, benefiting from the ‘i’ acquisition.
The Mail newspapers continued to grow their market shares and dmg media acquired three printing plants in October 2020.
Advertising revenues decreased by an underlying 16% with 8% growth in digital advertising, while print advertising crashed by 38%. It said the print advertising market “remains challenging” and the revenue impact was exacerbated by reduced readership of free paper Metro.
Excluding Metro, total advertising was in line with the prior year on an underlying basis. MailOnline achieved strong growth as it delivered high and increasing levels of engagement with the direct audience.
The company the short-term outlook for the UK Property Information, Consumer Media and Events & Exhibitions businesses remains difficult to predict.
The board is confident that its diversified portfolio is well-positioned to withstand the present uncertainties and that its long-term approach will continue to create value for its shareholders.
Accounting software firm Sage said it traded in line with expectations in the first quarter as recurring revenue grew strongly.
Total revenue rose 1.4% to £447m in the three months to the end of December from a year earlier as recurring revenue increased 4.7% to £408m.
AJ Bell lifted
Investment platform AJ Bell said total customer numbers increased to 312,309, up 30% over the last 12 months and 6% in the quarter, with total net inflows in the quarter of £1.6 billion, double the level reported in the first quarter of the prior year (2019: £0.8 billion).
Total assets under administration increased to £62.5bn, up 14% over the last 12 months and 11% in the quarter.
Pets At Home
The pets supplies company has benefitted from an ongoing turnaround of the business and the so-called ‘pandemic puppy’ craze with pet ownership rising as people work from home.
Total Group revenue growth for the 12 week period from 9 October to 31 December was 18% to £302m, with group like-for-like revenue growth of 17.6%.
Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain reported flat full-year net gaming revenue, with online gambling offsetting the closures of betting shops due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company, which this week saw MGM withdraw interesrt in an £8bn takeover, said UK retail NGR fell 36%, while total online was up 27%.
The FTSE 100 is expected to follow the US uplift following the new president’s pledges on unity and tackling the economy.
IG Markets pencilled in a 30 points rise in the index which closed 27 points higher, a 0.4% gain, at 6,740 shortly before new US Presiden was sworn in.
CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden said: “Mr Biden is keen to stimulate the economy. Last week, he announced a $1.9 trillion relief package but the spending won’t stop there as he also has big infrastructure, energy and education investment plans.
“There is a view in the markets that more spending is in the pipeline, after all, Mr Biden will want to start his presidency on a positive note.”
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones rose by 257 points or 0.83% while the S&P 500 added 1.39% and the Nasdaq advanced 1.97%.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was 0.82% higher, though Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 0.55%. The Shanghai Composite gained almost 1%.