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JD Sports director given boot | Bailey soothes market


5pm: JD Sports director voted off board

JD sports

Andrew Leslie, whose committee approved a controversial £4.3m bonus for JD Sports Fashion chairman Peter Cowgill has been voted off the board.

A little under 55% of independent shareholder votes were cast against re-appointing Leslie to the board at today’s AGM.

Mr Leslie, who has been on the board since 2010, was chairman of the remuneration committee which makes decisions on how much to pay the top management.

The company added that a new, long-term, incentive plan and remuneration policy had been approved with a higher margin.

The shares gained 5.44% after it said it was on track to deliver annual profits of at least £550m and would consider paying back government furlough cash.

Associated British Foods, owner of Primark, advanced 4.83% after saying it expected annual profit to be in line with the year before as sales at Primark outstripped forecasts in the third quarter (see below).

The FTSE 100 ended the session up 1.25% at 7,125.16 as dovish tones from the Bank of England helped to drive the pound lower. The more domestically-focused FTSE 250 was 1.1% firmer at 22,622.54.

Investors were soothed by comments from the governor that while inflation could hit 4%, it would prove temporary and should ensure the bank can remain accommodative throughout this economic recovery.

Noon: Sir David Murray hands over control of business

Sir David Murray has transferred ownership of his business interests to his sons following a year of significant restructuring and a pre-tax loss.

Full story here

10.30am: Gilbert swoops

AssetCo, the acquisition vehicle chaired by Martin Gilbert, is buying a 30% stake in a B2B fund investment and advisory platform which has been sold by Standard Life Aberdeen.

Full story here

9.30am: Market rebounds

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell says: “Just as it was looking as if investors were losing hope, markets have rebounded from weakness earlier this week.

“The FTSE 100 was up 0.9% to 7,100 as investors piled into airlines and retail stocks, suggesting that the Covid delta variant is no longer considered to be a major concern.”

The FTSE 250 jumped by 1% thanks to strength in airlines and property-related stocks such as Grafton and Howden Joinery, both beneficiaries of people doing up their homes.

8.30am: AMTE Power deal

AMTE Power, the Scotland-based lithium battery company, and InfraNomics, an infrastructure developer in Australia, have agreed a joint venture to build a new battery plant.

Full story here

7am: Primark rises


Third quarter sales at Primark stores which reopened after Covid-19 lockdowns were ahead of expectations in all markets, according to parent group Associated British Foods.

ABF said Primark revenues reached £1.6 billion in the third quarter with the reopening of all stores and the opening of seven new stores, against £0.6 billion for the same period last year.

Primark’s like-for-like sales were 3% up on a two-year basis in the quarter.

7am: Nissan confirms new EV car and battery plant

Japanese car giant Nissan is to create more than 1,600 jobs and invest £1billion in building a new electric model and huge battery plant in Sunderland in a massive boost to the automotive industry.  

An estimated 4,500 jobs will also be created or safeguarded in supply companies.

More than £420m will be invested in building a new-generation all-electric vehicle.

Nissan said its Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub will be a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem.

Full story here

7am: JD Sports

Retailer JD Sports has upped its profit outlook to ‘no less’ than £550 million after solid trading since shops reopened, but warned over the impact of the current resurgence in Covid-19 cases. 

7am: Springfield hits record turnover

Innes Smith

House builder Springfield Properties is expecting a 49% rise in turnover – its higher – to about £215m.

Growth is driven by increased sales in private and affordable housing and contribution from strategic land sales

The company expects a substantial increase in profit before tax, in line with recently upgraded market expectations.

Net debt has been reduced to approximately £21m at year end, from £71m at 31 May 2020.

Full story here

7am: Lookers

Car dealer Lookers said revenue for the year fell to £3.7bn from £4.8bn in 2019, impacted by lockdown and trading restrictions throughout the year.

Underlying profit before tax was £14.1m (2019: £4.0m) with strong performance in the second half of the year, more than offsetting a challenging first half. Statutory profit before tax came in at £2m (2019: Loss before tax £45.7m).

The company outperformed the UK retail new car market with resilient trading in used cars and after sales.

It is on track to deliver annualised savings of approximately £50m and has a strong balance sheet with a valuable property portfolio of c.£300m (77p per share).

Net debt has reduced further in 2021, with a net cash position currently of approximately £18m.

Global markets

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly lower as Chinese factory activity growth slowed in June.

Both the Nikkei 225 and South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.43%.

The Shanghai Composite in China rose 0.23% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.57%.

Wall Street ended higher on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.6%, S&P 500 0.1% higher and the Nasdaq Composite rising by 0.2%.

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