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Persimmon sales near 2019 levels | WH Smith stores deal

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10pm: Wall Street stumbles

Wall Street fell from the previous session’s record closing high, on a broad sell-off fuelled by fears that the US economic recovery may be faltering.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 260 points, or 0.94% lower and the S&P 500 lost 37 points, or 0.84%.


5pm: London plunges

London’s FTSE 100 fell below 7,000 at one point during a gloomy session, with cyclical stocks under pressure amid worries about new Covid surges.

Banks and miners were among the biggest losers, with Anglo American down 4.1%, Antofagasta off 1.6%, Glencore losing 3.3%, Barclays behind 2.82%, and Lloyds Banking Group 2.51% lower.

House builder Persimmon lost 4.79% even after saying it was accelerating a capital return to shareholders (see below).

WH Smith was 1.64% lower despite saying sales were gradually recovering and upgrading its full-year expectations (see below).

The FTSE 100 ended the session down 120.36 points or 1.68% at 7,030.66, and the FTSE 250 was 1.38% lower at 22,652.72.


11am: Betts leaves SWA

Karen Betts is leaving her post as chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association

Full story here


10.30am: Graham sees strong progress

A strong recovery from the lows of the first lockdown enabled building contractor Graham to post an increase in profit and repay the furlough support it received from the government.

Full story here


9am: FTSE 100 sharply lower

The FTSE 100 plunged in early trade, down nearly 86 points at 7,065.18 following a weak session in Asia, as minutes from the latest US Federal Reserve meeting showed the central bank discussed slowing stimulus.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slumped by nearly 3% as Chinese tech stocks experienced a major sell-off amid fears of further regulatory interference.”

He said  the fact that miners and banks are under the cosh in London suggests investors have started to worry again about the strength of the economic recovery.


7am: Persimmon sales strong

Persimmon homes

House builder Persimmon said first half home sales approached levels achieved in 2019.

The group’s ongoing strong performance and cash generation, would see it return 110p per share of surplus capital as a single additional interim dividend payment in relation to the financial year ended 31 December 2020.

Dean Finch, group chief executive, said: “Customer demand for our new homes has been strong right across the UK with healthy sales reservation rates through the period. The group has an excellent forward order book at the end of June of £1.82bn.”


7am: WH Smith

The stationer and travel agent has won 18 technology and accessories stores across a number of UK airports, including London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester, London Luton, Birmingham and East Midlands.

These stores will trade under the InMotion brand.

In a fully recovered travel environment, the company anticipates that these stores will deliver sales of c.£60m per year.

It said while both travel and high street businesses continue to be impacted by the current trading environment, irts is encouraged by the improving trends. 

In the 18 weeks to 3 July 2021, UK Travel total revenue was 32% of 2019 income.  In the week to 3 July, total UK Travel revenue was 38% of 2019.

Total revenue for the high street business in the 18 week period was 86% of 2019.  This performance reflects high street footfall which remains below pre-pandemic levels.  However,  the firm’s websites, including funkypigeon.com, continue to deliver a good performance.


7am: Deliveroo expanding

Deliveroo said it will create 400 technology jobs following a surge in sales figures, which showed that the amount spent by customers almost doubled to £3.4 billion in the first half of the year.


Global markets

In Asia this morning, worries over the Chinese tech sector and the threat of censure, along with rising Covid-19 numbers weighed on traders.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 200 points or 0.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 2.4% lower. The Shanghai Composite saw a 0.6% drop.

In the US, Apple and Amazon were among mega-cap firms heading up market gains and notching new record closes as Wall Street ended higher. Minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting showed officials were divided on economic signals.

The S&P 500 closed at a fresh record high , up 0.34%, while the Dow Jones and Nasdaq rose by 0.3% and 0.01% respectively.



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