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JD Sports | Sainsbury’s | Savills | Whitbread

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2pm: US inflation at 40-year high

The US saw a quickening in the pace of inflation to a 40-year high of 7%, as expected, but month-over-month price gains moderated between November and December. Energy prices fell from November, the first decline in months, and gasoline prices also declined.

In London the FTSE 100 continued to climb and was up 63.25 points at 7,554.62

Full report here


9am: Stocks rise

Stocks rose in the first hour of trade on the back of several positive updates and a firmer outlook on inflation. The FTSE 100 was up a shade under 50 points at 7,540.60.


7am: JD Sports ahead

Sports leisure chain JD Sports raised its profits guidance after total revenues for the 22-week period to 1 January in the Group’s like for like businesses were more than 10% ahead of the same period in 2020.

There was an “equally positive performance” across the Black Friday and Christmas period. It said it is also encouraged that gross margins for the second half are in line with the prior year.

“We are now confident that the group headline profit before tax for the full year to 29 January 2022 will be ahead of current market expectations, which average £810 million. It is now anticipated that the outturn for the full year will be at least £875m.”


7am: Sainsbury’s upgrades

Sainsbury’s has raised its annual profit expectations despite a fall in sales during its core Christmas trading period.

The UK’s second-largest supermarket chain by market share, said total sales came in 2.9% down on 2020/21 though its core food and drink offering saw growth of 0.1%. Online grocery sales fell 15% as demand for deliveries tumbled.

Nevertheless, the group – which includes Argos – said it expects underlying profit before tax of at least £720m for its financial year to March 2022, up from the £660m forecast last July.


7am: Savills profits at upper end

Real estate group Savills said it expects underlying profit before tax for 2021 to be “very significantly ahead” of the upper end of its previous range of expectations.

Despite the backdrop of pandemic-related uncertainty in 2021, the UK performed exceptionally well across all business lines.

There were notably strong performances from the Transactional Business lines, albeit Commercial office leasing volumes remained below historic averages in the majority of markets.

Savills said logistics and retail warehousing enjoyed significant volume increases year-on-year. The UK prime residential market continued to perform exceptionally strongly through the last quarter and volumes in the prime central London market clearly began to improve.


7am: Premier Inn ahead of market

Alison Brittain, CEO of Premier Inn owner Whitbread, said Q3 represented another strong performance in the UK with Premier Inn continuing to trade significantly ahead of the market.

“High levels of leisure demand and improving business demand helped maintain like-for-like accommodation sales ahead of pre COVID-19 levels.

“UK accommodation sales remained resilient in December, albeit softening as we moved through the month and into the festive period as a result of the onset of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. Whilst our hotel performance was excellent, the value pub and restaurant sector in which we operate remains more challenging.”

The company’s update noted: “While the impact of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has resulted in a softening of hotel bookings in recent weeks, it remains too early to assess what the impact on sales will be for the rest of this financial year.” 


Global markets

The market remains focused on inflation with a March rate hike in the US now taken as a done deal.

Wall Street recovered after Monday’s sell off. The Dow Jones was 0.51% higher whilst the S&P 500 was slightly stronger rising 0.9% and the Nasdaq put on 1.4% following recent tech sell-offs.

Asian stock indices were up strongly this morning. Japan’s Nikkei rose 543 points or 1.9% to 28,765 whilst Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 615 points or 2.59% to 24,346. The Shanghai Composite meanwhile advanced 0.8% to 3,596.



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