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Quiz sees upturn in sales | Three energy firms fail


5pm: London closes higher

The FTSE 100 rebounded, closing 80.06 points higher at 7,108.16, lifted by a weaker pound and strong figures from retailer Next, whose shares rose 3.9% on an upgrade to profit guidance (see below).

AstraZeneca advanced 4.2% after exercising an option to buy out Caelum Biosciences in a bid to accelerate the development of an organ function drug.

Sterling was trading around its worst levels since January amid talk of stagflation.

Royal Mail letters post box

Royal Mail shares tumbled 8.8% as UBS downgraded the stock to ‘sell’ from ‘buy’ and cut the price target to 440p from 590p.

Mid-cap SSP Group fell 5.4% as the operator of food and drink outlets in airports and railway stations warned its sales recovery in the next financial year will be slower than expected.

Brent crude oil was trading at $79.09 a barrel at the close of the LSE, edging up from $79 late on Tuesday. 

On AIM, Glasgow-based Beeks Financial Cloud hit a new intra-day high of 210p before closing 5p (2.55%) higher at 201p following a positive statement yesterday.

3pm: Energy suppliers fail

gas, Ofgem, price caps

Three more energy suppliers – Igloo, Symbio and Enstroga – have ceased trading, Ofgem has announced.

Igloo Energy supplies gas and electricity to around 179,000 domestic customers, Symbio supplies around 48,000 domestic customers and a small number of non-domestic customers and Enstroga supplies around 6,000 domestic customers.

Together the suppliers represent less than 1% of domestic customers in the market.

Under Ofgem’s safety net, the energy supply to all affected customers will continue and credit balances will be protected.

Domestic customers will also be protected by the energy price cap when being switched to a new supplier.

The latest failures follow the collapse of People’s Energy, Green Supplier, Utility Point, PfP Energy, MoneyPlus Energy, and Avro Energy.

10am: Next shines as oil firms dip

Next- Emma Willis

The FTSE 100 gathered pace on the back of weak sterling, up 56.02 points or 0.8% at 7084.12, while the pound was 0.19% lower at $1.3515.

Retailer Next, whose models include TV presenter Emma Willis (pictured), was the stand out gainer, up 2.72% at 8300p.

Oil companies fell as crude comes off its recent highs. Brent is down 0.72% at $78.52 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate has slipped 0.78% to $74.70.

Royal Dutch Shell saw its A shares dip 0.32% while BP is 023% lower.

8am: Morrisons bid timetable

The takeover panel has announced that the auction procedure for bidders seeking to acquire the Morrisons supermarket chain will consist of a maximum of five rounds which will all take place on 2 October 2021. 

7am: Quiz Clothing

Fashion chain Quiz Clothing said it has seen increasing demand for its core product offering as restrictions on events and social gatherings were removed.

This is driving a return towards the revenues generated prior to the pandemic on a like-for-like basis.

Sales grew to £30.6 million for the five months to 31 August 2021 and represent a £17.4 million increase on the revenues generated in the same period last year.

The Glasgow-based company posted a £9.6m underlying loss for the year to the end of March following a 66% fall in revenue.

Tarak Ramzan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Against a backdrop of highly challenging trading conditions during the year, including the enforced closures of stores and concessions for substantial periods and the cancellation of social events that are a key driver for demand of Quiz’s trademark occasion wear, we have taken decisive actions to position the business to return to long-term profitable growth, including reducing the size of our store estate, decreasing costs, and maintaining very tight cash management.”

7am: Next raises guidance

Fashion and home furnishings retailer Next has raised its full-year profit outlook for the fourth time in six months after posting a 5.9% rise in first-half profit on a two-year basis.

The company said it has benefited from strong trading since Covid-19 restrictions ended.

Next, which trades from about 500 stores as well as online, made a pretax profit of £347m in the six months to July, on full-price sales up 8.8% compared to 2019.

Full-price sales in the last eight weeks increased 20% versus 2019, materially exceeding its expectations.

It raised its full-price sales guidance for the rest of the year by up to 10%, from 6% previously, and its forecast for pretax profit to £800m, £36m ahead of its previous guidance.

7am: SSE Renewables in Japan JV

SSE Renewables has signed an agreement with Pacifico Energy, one of Japan’s largest developers of renewable energy, to create a joint ownership company that will pursue offshore wind energy development projects in Japan.

The move to enter Japan’s growing offshore wind market will help support the further expansion and diversification of SSE Renewables’ longer-term growth pipeline.

Full story here

Global markets

Concerns over surging energy prices, supply chain disruptions and inflation are prompting a move out of the more highly valued areas of the stock market.

European markets had a poor day yesterday, all of key indices down by more than 2%, with the exception of the FTSE 100 which was cushioned by its large energy component, and a sinking pound, which helped to keep it above the 7,000 level.

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region fell overnight following a sharp fall on Wall Street as rising yields hit tech stocks.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged nearly 3% after 10-year US bond yields rose to 1.5375%.

China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 1.55% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.20%

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slumped 2.67% and South Korea’s Kospi declined 1.74%.

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