Market report

Quiz trading ‘in line’ | Wage growth, jobs data | Ocado


4.30pm: London closes lower

The FTSE 100 index closed down 9.04 points, or 0.1%, at 7,851.03 as investors reacted to a poor earnings report from Goldman Sachs.

Wall Street traders returned from the public holiday on Monday in a less than enthusiastic mood. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.1% at the time of the London equities close. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were 0.2% lower. 

Noon: Britishvolt collapses

Britishvolt, the proposed manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries backed by Edinburgh asset manager Abrdn, has collapsed into administration.

Full story here

Quiz Clothing

Fast fashion group Quiz Clothing said it is confident of delivering profits for the year to end of March at least in line with expectations as customers returned to buying more dressy clothes in the first Christmas for three years not impacted by lockdown.

Total group sales lat year increased by 11%, or £1m, year on year to £9.8m.

Online revenues decreased 14% to £1.8m with sales through QUIZ’s own website consistent with the previous year and in-line with board’s expectations.

International revenues, which comprise five stores and 18 concessions in Ireland and international franchise partners, increased 20% to £1.8m.

Consistent with the Group’s other revenue channels, the Board remains confident in the QUIZ brand’s potential for long-term international growth and continues to pursue opportunities in line with its strategy.

Labour market

Wages have grown at the fastest rate in over 20 years, but are still failing to keep up with rising prices.

Regular pay, which excludes bonuses, rose at an annual pace of 6.4% between September and November, official figures show.

It marks the fastest growth since 2001, excluding the pandemic, when people got big rises after returning to work from furlough.

However, when adjusted for rising prices, wages fell by 2.6%.

UK unemployment rose to 3.7% in the three months to November, according to data from the Office for National Statistics, up from 3.5% in the previous three-month period.

Signs of a tight labour market were visible in the figures as wages overall rose 6.4% from the same period a year earlier, the highest increase since records began in 2001.

National World

National World, owner of The Scotsman media titles, expects to recommend a maiden dividend in conjunction with the release of its audited results for the year ended 31 December 2022 on 16 March.

The company, headed by former News of the World editor David Montgomery, said it maintains a strong financial position with the cash balance increasing by £4 million to £27m as at the year end.

It has repaid the first tranche of the £2.5 million deferred consideration payable as a result of acquiring JPIMedia Publishing and its subsidiaries.

Full story here

Calnex board changes

Telecoms measurement company Calnex has appointed Helen Kelisky, managing director of Google Cloud in the UK and Ireland, as a non-executive director.

Following 13 years on the board, Ann Budge has informed the board that she will be retiring as a non-executive director with effect from 28 February 2023.

Full story here


Online supermarket Ocado Retail reported a rise in quarterly sales and in the run-up to Christmas, though an increase in customer numbers was partially offset by fewer items being purchased per order.

The business, a 50:50 joint venture between Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer, said fourth quarter to 27 November sales rose 0.3% and were up 15% over the five days before Christmas.

Global markets

China said its economy grew by just 3% last year, one of the weakest rates in 40 years as the Covid-19 pandemic took its toll.

The Beijing government had set a target of 5.5%, which was already well down on the previous year which saw an 8% rise in GDP.

In the fourth quarter, China’s economy grew 2.9% year-on-year, compared with 3.9% in the third quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

The Shanghai Composite was down 0.2%, and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 1.2%.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was up 1.2%

Financial markets in the US were closed for a public holiday.

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