Alliance Trust reviews divi | New Ted Baker HQ| Brewin Dolphin
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10pm: New gains for Wall Street
Wall Street gained ground for the fourth straight session on Friday, extending a rally that pushed all three major US stock indexes to record closing highs as upbeat earnings and signs of economic revival fuelled investor risk appetite.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.68%, the S&P 500 gained 1.02%, and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.04%.
5pm: London edges higher
London traders gave a mixed bag of UK retail sales and business activity figures the benefit of the doubt and marked the FTSE 100 59.28 points (0.85%) higher at 7,027.58 at the close.
Telecoms operator Vodafone Group rallied 2.45% after it reported a rise in first-quarter revenue as European and African services returned to growth.
Mr Kipling and Bisto owner Premier Foods also advanced, adding 4.76%, after it said full-year adjusted pre-tax profit was set to be at the top end of its expectations after “a very encouraging start to the year”.
10am: Traders shrug off subdued PMI
Equity investors responded to a downbeat purchasing managers’ index (PMI) by driving the FTSE 100 45 points (0.7%) higher at 7,013.
The PMI indicates that GDP growth will likely have slowed in the third quarter, after having rebounded sharply in the second quarter.
7am: New HQ for Ted Baker
Fashion chain Ted Baker, is moving to a new global HQ in central London which will see its annual rent slashed from £3.25 million to £900,000.
Its new 30,000 sq ft home in Fitzrovia, which will be called the Gorgeous Brown Building (GBB), is being taken on a 10 year lease agreement with the landlord, Westminster City Council. Ted Baker expects to move during Summer 2022.
These savings in rent are separate to the fixed rent cost saving target of 15% for financial year 2022 that the Group announced in its year-end results on 14 June.
Rachel Osborne, CEO, said: “It will enable us to work more efficiently and collaboratively, and most importantly to express our unique brand personality. We look forward to making our team members comfortable and hosting our global partners in our new showrooms from Summer 2022.
“Having spent more than 20 years in the Ugly Brown Building, it will be invigorating to be in our new site in Fitzrovia. Times have changed, as have our ways of working, and our brand has a refreshed personality and energy, which will be perfectly reflected in the Gorgeous Brown Building.”
7am: Alliance Trust reviewing dividend
The board of Alliance Trust, the Dundee-based finance house, is reviewing the level of the company’s dividend to assess if and how a more attractive and sustainable level of distributions may be provided to shareholders.
A second quarterly dividend of 3.702p, an increase of 3% on last year, will be paid in September and the board expects to extend the company’s 54-year track record of increasing ordinary dividends.
For the six months to 30 June, the company’s net asset value total return was 14.8%, outperforming its benchmark, the MSCI All Country World Index (MSCI ACWI) which returned 11.1%.
Total shareholder return came in at 11.1% and reflected a widening of the discount from 3.5% at the start of the year to 6.7% at the end of June.
7am: NatWest Irish deal
NatWest Group is poised to take a 20% stake in Permanent TSB as part of a plan to sell €7.6 billion of loans and 25 branches at its Ulster Bank unit to the Irish State-controlled lender.
PTSB and Ulster Bank said they had signed a memorandum of understanding on the shape of a proposed deal, that would also see between 400 and 500 Ulster Bank employees transfer.
7am: Brewin Dolphin reports record Q3
Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin posted record gross discretionary fund inflows of £1.3bn in the third quarter, higher than the Q2 level of £1bn.
It said 70% of the inflows were from new clients.
Robin Beer, chief executive, said: “Strong fund inflows were seen across both our direct and indirect businesses, with Ireland having an exceptional quarter and our Voyager fund range continuing to scale at pace.
“We are in the final stages of implementing our custody and settlement system and remain on track for it to go live in our environment in the Autumn. These results are testimony that we are delivering on our strategic priorities of innovating our propositions, expanding our distribution channels and accelerating our digital agenda.”
Telecoms company Vodafone reported a better-than-expected rise in first quarter revenue as European and African services returned to growth.
Total revenue grew 5.7% to €11.1 billion with Europe mobile churn 1.6 percentage points lower than the same period last year, although commercial activity had yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Reported service revenue grew 3.1% to €9.3bn and 3.3% on an organic basis against analyst expectations of 1.4%.
7am: Retail resumes growth
Retail sales resumed their post-lockdown recovery in June after a surprise fall in May, according to official data.
Sales rose by 0.5% in June from May, the Office for National Statistics said.
Consumer confidence in the UK edged above March 2020 pre-lockdown levels in July.
GfK’s UK consumer confidence barometer in July was minus 7, edging up from minus 9 in June. While this was still a negative score, indicating downbeat sentiment, it was a two-point improvement compared with March 2020.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 25 points and the S&P 500 climbed 9 points, just shy of a new high.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is off 276 points, the Shanghai Composite in China fell 0.65% while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lifted 0.58%. Japanese markets are closed today.