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Aviva ‘stronger’ | Pru rises | Deliveroo’s double blow

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2.30pm: US inflation surprise

US headline consumer prices index inflation has surprised on the downside as data today showed the annual rate at 8.5% for July, compared to consensus expectations of 8.7%. The July rate is down from the 9.1% recorded in June. 

Rob Clarry, Investment Strategist at UK wealth manager Evelyn Partners, comments: “Falling commodity prices, deteriorating consumer confidence, and slowing growth could tempt the Fed to take its foot off the gas in upcoming meetings.

“While today’s downside surprise is likely to be welcomed by investors, the data does not change our view that US interest rates will continue to increase. More substantial falls in inflation and a softer labour market will probably be required before we get any signs of the Fed changing course.”


7am: Aviva

Aviva

Insurance firm Aviva posted a 14% increase in interim operating profits to £829m and the FTSE 100-listed group declared an interim dividend of 10.3p, in line with its full-year dividend guidance (2021: 7.35p).

However, Aviva said its IFRS loss after tax had deepened year-on-year, widening from £198.0m in 2021 to £633.0m a year later, largely reflecting adverse market movements.

General insurance gross written premiums rose 6% to £4.69bn, with a “strong” 94% combined operating ratio, and UK & Ireland life sales were up 4% at £16.8bn.

The company confirmed that its £385m takeover of Succession Wealth will be completed later this year.

Chief executive Amanda Blanc said: “Sales are up, operating profit is higher, our financial position is stronger. This has been an excellent six months for Aviva.

“Our scale and diversification give us resilience and opportunity, enabling Aviva to withstand the challenging economic climate.

“Trading has been encouraging across all our major businesses in insurance, wealth, and retirement.

“We are increasingly confident in Aviva’s prospects and anticipate commencing additional returns of capital to shareholders with our 2022 full year results.”


7am: Prudential

Prudential reported an 8% rise in its first-half operating profit, but the Asia-focused insurer warned of challenging conditions for the rest of the year as Covid curbs persist in some markets.

Adjusted operating profit from continuing operations of the London and Hong Kong dual-listed company was $1.66bn against $1.57bn a year earlier. This was below a consensus forecast.


7am: Deliveroo’s double blow

Meals delivery service Deliveroo has suffered a double blow after posting higher half-year losses and revealing that Next boss Lord Wolfson has stepped down from its board.

H1 2022 revenue was up 12% and orders up 10% but the loss before tax rose to £147 million from £95m in H1 2021.


Global markets

US consumer prices are expected to have risen at a much slower pace in July because of a sharp drop in the cost of gasoline, delivering the first notable sign of relief for Americans who have watched inflation climb over the past two years.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is though to have risen 0.2% last month after advancing 1.3% in June, according to economists polled by Reuters ahead of the release of the closely-watched Labor Department report due today.

China’s factory-gate inflation eased to a 17-month low in July, defying global cost pressures as slower domestic construction weighed on raw material demand, although consumer price gains hit a two-year high as pork supplies tightened.



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