Market report

Morrisons set for auction | Halfords hit by supply issue


5pm: FTSE falls

The FTSE 100 closed down 53.84 points, or 0.75%, at 7,095.53, below the high of 7,140 and off the low of 7,061 as traders over tax rises and slower growth.

Housebuilders were out of favour with Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Barratt and The Berkley Group all in the FTSE 100 red zone. 

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “Supply issues and labour shortages are impeding construction plans and there’s a real sense that the hot air provided by the stamp duty holiday has cooled and the market with it.”

Persimmon fell 4.03% to 2,717p, and Taylor Wimpey was down 3.83% at 169.30p.

9am: Argyll wind towers business in administration

A company which operated the UK’s only factory producing both onshore and offshore wind tower systems has gone into administration 18 months after being mothballed.

Full story here

8.45am: London lower

The FTSE 100 index fell 57.63 points in early trade to 7,091.

8.30am: Offshore wind plan

Invenergy, a privately-held global developer of sustainable energy solutions, and BW Offshore, a floating production specialist, have announced a joint venture to develop up to 5.4 gigawatts of offshore wind as part of the first ScotWind leasing round.

The joint venture will focus on developing both floating and fixed foundation offshore wind projects off the north east coast of Scotland, with the projects expected to bring billions of pounds of investment to the Scottish and UK supply chain.

7am: Morrisons facing auction


Supermarket chain Morrisons is in talks with the stock market’s Takeover Panel to launch an auction process to determine its ownership.

The board hopes to bring an end to the three-month battle for the business between two private equity firms, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) and Fortress.

Morrisons said that, on the basis that neither bidder has declared their offer final, “such that either offer may be further increased or otherwise revised, a competitive situation continues to exist”.

As a result, the company has started talking with the Takeover Panel and the bidders “in order to begin discussions around an orderly framework for the resolution of this competitive situation”.

7am: Halfords caught up in supply chain disruption


Motoring and cycling products company Halfords said the boom in cycling business had been interrupted by disruption in the supply chain but the outlook in positive.

The company posted total sales growth in the 20 weeks to 20 August of 18.7% (+16.8% LFL) over two years.

Graham Stapleton, chief executive, said: “The first 20 weeks of FY22 delivered a strong trading performance against a hugely challenging backdrop.

“Our motoring business now represents 65% of our revenues and continues to go from strength to strength, driven by the increased scale of our Autocentres business, the ongoing demand for our Halfords Mobile Expert Vans, and by recent staycation trends.

“Although our cycling business is currently impacted by the considerable disruption in the global supply chain, as the UK’s largest cycling retailer we are well positioned to adapt and to serve our customers, and we remain confident in the long-term outlook for the cycling market.

“The strength of our overall performance is a clear illustration of the relevance of our service-led strategy and gives us the confidence to continue with our investment plans. We remain positive on our prospects for FY22 and beyond.”

7am: Biffa revenue higher

Waste management company Biffa said trading in the first half of the year has continued in line with the board’s revised expectations, as set out on 19 July 2021.  

Group net revenues for the five months to August 2021 were 12% higher than the comparable period in 2019, and 3% excluding acquisitions. In the I&C business, like for like volumes (adjusted for acquisitions) have stabilised at levels slightly above pre-pandemic levels.

As with many other businesses across the UK, we are working hard to mitigate the impact of the national shortage of HGV drivers, along with other supply chain challenges, on our services.

Global markets

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed as Japan’s GDP grew 1.9% on an annualised basis in the April to June quarter, higher than the initial estimate for a 1.3% rise.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 surged 0.83% while South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.73%.

China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.20% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.08% as worries about slowing growth hurt equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 fell 0.76% and 0.34% while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.07% to another record close as investors switched out of cyclicals into blue-chip tech stocks.

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