Market report

Frasers lifts Boss and Asos stakes | CR Smith


4.30pm: Stock market rises on Sunak victory

The FTSE 100 index closed 44.26 points higher at 7,013.99.

“News that Rishi Sunak will become the next UK Prime Minister has spared markets any additional uncertainty today, with the UK essentially set to be steered through this crisis by two chancellors,” IG’s Joshua Mahony wrote in a note.

AJ Bell analyst Danni Hewson, said: “Markets have signalled Rishi Sunak will be given time to deliver, with gilt yields falling and the British economy getting a tentative second chance to get back on track.

“But there’s no getting away from the scale of the challenge that faces the new prime minister. The last few weeks have left the UK economy badly bruised, and the volatility of the pound today lays bare the huge task ahead.”

The pound was quoted at $1.1295 at the London equities close, up from $1.1203 at the close on Friday.

On the corporate front, Pearson ended the best blue-chip performer, 7.3% higher on the back of strong sales growth.

CR Smith

CR Smith Glaziers (Dunfermline) posted figures for the year to the end of December last year showing a pre-tax profit of £169,523, against £130,901 over an extended 16-month period from September 2019 to the end of 2020 when the firm was impacted by lockdown.

Turnover fell to £20.2 million from £23.6 million. The company said that on a pro rata basis turnover was up 14.6% and operating profit 37.8%.

The figures pre-date the energy and raw materials squeeze, the Ukraine war and the cost of living crisis and there was no update on current trading.

Commenting on the 2021 results, George Eadie, director, said:“We hold a strong position in the home improvements market and remain confident that the measures we have put in place will continue to support future growth.”

7am: Frasers raises stakes

Hugo Boss

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has raised its stake in Hugo Boss as it seeks out opportunities beyond the UK.

Frasers, formerly Sports Direct, said it now holds 4.3% of Hugo Boss stock directly and a further 28.5% via the sale of put options.

The group has also built up shareholding of more than 5% in online fashion operator Asos. 

In a statement, the company said it continues to see opportunities that strengthen Frasers Group’s brand proposition and the recent acquisitions of Studio Retail and Missguided.

It said these are examples of its drive to expand and acquire businesses and brands that can strengthen Frasers Group, and the connection to its consumers.

“Frasers Group has extensive ambitions to grow the business inside and outside of the UK and is constantly exploring the potential for further expansion,” it said.

7am: Pearson

Education publisher Pearson said it is remains on track to deliver group sales and adjusted operating profit consensus expectations after reporting group underlying sales up 7% in the third quarter.

Andy Bird, chief executive, said: “I am pleased with the continuing momentum the business is demonstrating through our sharp focus on delivery. We are executing well on our plan for accelerated margin improvement.

“We believe Pearson is well positioned for the future, and we are confident of being able to navigate the challenging macroeconomic environment.”

Global markets

The pound is one the few currencies that did not lose ground to the US Dollar today due to a degree of political certainty after Boris Johnson ruled himself out of running for the Prime Ministership.

Sterling was quoted at $1.1343 early today, sharply higher than $1.1203 at the London equities close on Friday.

China’s economy rebounded at a faster-than-anticipated rate in the third quarter, but a more robust revival in the longer term will be challenged by persistent COVID-19 curbs, a prolonged property slump and global recession risks, reports the Reuters agency.

Helped by a raft of government measures, gross domestic product of the world’s second-biggest economy expanded 3.9% in July-September from a year earlier, official data showed on Monday, outstripping the 3.4% pace forecast in a Reuters poll and faster than the 0.4% growth in the second quarter.

China looks set to continue with its ultra-strict COVID policies endorsed by the ruling Communist Party, which wrapped up its top leadership reshuffle on Sunday with Xi Jinping securing his third term at its helm.

The Shanghai Composite was down 1.4%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong slumped 5.6%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was up 0.5%.

In the US on Friday, stocks ended sharply higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 2.5%, the S&P 500 up 2.4% and the Nasdaq Composite up 2.3%.

Stocks were boosted by a Wall Street Journal report that said some US Federal Reserve officials want to slow the pace of rate rises after the November central bank meeting.

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