News Column

UK MORNING BRIEFING: UK Shares Flat Ahead Of HSBC Results

August 4, 2014

Tom Waite



LONDON (Alliance News) - UK shares are flat to lower Monday, as investors await half-year earnings from HSBC Holdings.



Alent leads FTSE 250 gainers early Monday after declaring a special dividend.



Here is what you need to know at the UK market open:

----------

MARKETS

----------

FTSE 100: flat at 6,681.46

FTSE 250: down 0.2% at 15,374.29

AIM ALL-SHARE: down 0.2% at 760.85

----------

Hang Seng: up 0.4% at 24,628.89

Nikkei 225: closed down 0.3% at 15,474.50

DJIA: closed down 0.4% at 16,493.37

S&P 500: closed down 0.3% at 1,925.15

----------

GBP-USD: up at USD1.6827

EUR-USD: flat at USD1.3423



GOLD: flat at USD1,293.70 per ounce

OIL (Brent): up at USD104.89 a barrel



(changes since end of previous GMT day)

----------

ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

----------

Monday's Key Economic Events still to come

(all times British Summer Time)



holiday Ireland August Holiday

09:30 UK PMI Construction

09:30 EU Sentix Investor Confidence

10:00 EU Producer Price Index

14:45 US ISM New York index

16:30 US 3-Month and 6-Month Bill Auction

----------

British small and medium-sized manufacturers reported a strong growth in orders and output, according to a quarterly SME Trends Survey from the Confederation of British Industry. A balance of 14% said new orders increased in three months to July. Orders are expected to increase even more strongly next quarter, with 26% forecasting growth. At the same time, a balance of 15% reported expansion in production, and 19% expect growth in the coming quarter. Both domestic orders and output rose strongly, for the fourth consecutive quarter.

----------

Portugal's ailing Banco Espirito Santo is to receive a EUR4.9 billion bailout package, the country's central bank governor, Carlos Costa, said late Sunday. The move comes two and a half months after Portugal exited the EU's bailout programme. On Wednesday, BES reported a record loss of EUR3.57 billion for the first six months of 2014. Last week alone the share price dropped from 0.45 to 0.12 euro cents. A resolution fund set up by Portuguese banks as part of the 2012 EU bailout conditions will provide the cash injection. The bank's bad loans will be off-loaded into a bad bank while the healthy assets will be put into a good bank. Costa insisted that neither the state nor the depositors would be affected by the crisis. The shareholders will bear most of the costs, including French bank Credit Agricole (15%), which expects heavy losses.

----------

Israel declared a seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire to take effect Monday morning in most of Gaza after an attack that killed 10 people at a UN-run school in the Gaza Strip. Israel came under heavy criticism for the attack, which the Israeli military said had targeted three militants on a motorbike near the school. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said it was a "moral outrage and a criminal act" that constituted a "gross violation of international law." US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US was appalled by the "disgraceful" shelling.

----------

Rain and landslides blocking key roads hampered efforts to evacuate some 57,000 people left homeless by an earthquake that killed at least 391 in south-western China. Many among the estimated 1 million people affected by Sunday's 6.5-magnitude quake in Yunnan province felt hundreds of aftershocks by Monday morning. Rivers had been blocked by landslides in some areas, bringing the threat of floods, state media said.

----------

The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is out of control, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Sunday. But but he also said he was confident that it can be stopped. "We know how to stop Ebola now," Tom Frieden said in an interview with ABC News.

He added that the government-funded CDC is "surging" its response to the outbreak and will send 50 public health employees to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to help stop the outbreak within the next 30 days.

----------

Australian popstar Kylie Minogue and 1960s diva Lulu headlined the closing ceremony at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Sunday, bringing 11 days of sporting achievements to an end.

More than 4,000 athletes from 71 countries took part in the 20th edition of the Games, breaking more than 140 Commonwealth and several world records.

----------

BROKER RATING CHANGES

---------

CITIGROUP RAISES NEW WORLD RESOURCES TO 'NEUTRAL' ('SELL')

----------

TRADERS: UBS CUTS GENEL ENERGY TO 'NEUTRAL' ('BUY')

----------

COMPANIES - FTSE 100

----------

HSBC Holdings PLC is urging the UK government to delay a deadline for ringfencing the lenders' retail and investment banking operations, Sky News reported on Sunday. According to the article, HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint has written to Chancellor George Osborne and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to warn about potential implications of a competition probe into the banking sector which the UK's Competition and Markets Authority wants to pursue. Citing Whitehall sources, the report said that Flint has used the letter to ask for a delay to the 2019 timetable for bank ring-fencing. HSBC is scheduled to report its half-year results at 0915 BST Monday.

----------

Quality testing company Intertek PLC reported lower profit for the first half of the year as the strength of sterling hit revenue earned abroad, but it predicted organic revenue growth in the second half of the year and beyond. The company reported a pretax profit of GBP119.8 million for the six months to the end of June, down from GBP127.9 million a year earlier, as revenue declined to GBP1.02 billion, from GBP1.08 billion. Revenue would have increased 2.9% at constant exchange rates, thanks to acquisitions, with organic revenue at constant rates down 0.5%. It said sterling's strength knocked GBP89 million off its revenue.

----------

Aviva PLC is planning to cut millions of pounds from its annual tax bill, the Financial Times reported online on Sunday. According to the FT, new Finance Director Tom Stoddard has pledged to cut tax expenses under the next stage of the insurer's turnaround. The newspaper cited comments made by Stoddard at a recent investor day at which he said the insurer has been too focused on producing pretax operating profit.

----------

COMPANIES - FTSE 250

----------

esure group PLC said its pretax profit edged up by 0.4% in the first half amid intense competition in the group's motor and home markets, while it complemented an increase in its interim dividend with the declaration of a special dividend. esure increased its interim dividend to 3.6 pence from 2.5p, and also said it will pay a 1.5p per share special dividend, increasing the total to 5.1p. The owner of the Sheila's Wheels brand said it made a GBP57.1 million pretax profit in the six months ended June 30, compared with GBP56.9 million in the corresponding period last year.

----------

Data-centres provider TelecityGroup PLC posted rises in revenue and pretax profit in its first half on the back of strong demand in the European data-centre market. The firm said revenue rose 9.3% to GBP174.1 million, from GBP159.3 million a year earlier, with adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation up 11% to GBP81.6 million against GBP73.8m in 2013. On the back of the results, the company lifted its dividend by 29% to 4.5 pence from 3.5 pence a year ago.

----------

Ultra Electronics PLC reported lower profit and revenue for the first half of the year, but reiterated that its defence markets are stabilising and it expects to "broadly" meet expectations for the full year because revenue will be weighted towards the second half. The defence, aerospace, security, transport and energy technology company reported a pretax, pre-items pretax profit of GBP50.5 million for the six months to end-June, down from GBP55.4 million a year earlier, as revenue declined to GBP341.0 million, from GBP367.7 million. Its pretax profit rose to GBP45.8 million, from GBP39.6 million, but this was mostly down to a GBP3.0 million profit on fair value movements on derivatives, compared with the GBP7.7 million loss it booked a year earlier.

----------

KellerGroup PLC reported a 21% increase in pretax profit for the first half, despite tough market conditions in Canada, a market it has targeted over the last 18 months. The FTSE 250 engineering contractor posted pretax profit of GBP32.5 million for the six months ended June 30, up from GBP26.8 million a year earlier, as revenue rose 22% to GBP788.2 million from GBP644.6 million. Keller said all four of its divisions achieved strong revenue growth compared with the same period a year ago, despite an adverse currency translation impact. On the back of this, the company increased its interim dividend 5% to 8.4 pence from 8.0 pence a year earlier.

----------

Alent PLC said its pretax profit increased in its first half, and it proposed to pay out a GBP42 million special dividend, as a reduction in revenue was offset by lower costs and expenses. The advanced surface-treatment plating chemicals and electronics assembly materials company said its pretax profit increased 3.7% to GBP41.8 million for the six months ended June 30, from GBP40.3 million in the previous year.

----------

FidessaGroup PLC reported a 3.9% fall in half-year pretax profit, with growth at constant currency more than offset by sterling strength. In a statement, the trading software and services group said it made a GBP19.7 million pretax profit in the six months ended June 30, compared with GBP20.5 million in the corresponding period last year. Revenue fell to GBP137.1 million from GBP139.3 million, while operating expenses fell to GBP117.4 million from GBP118.6 million. Fidessa increased its interim dividend to 13.1 pence from 12.5p.

----------

Senior PLC H1 Pretax Profit GBP45.1M Vs GBP37.1M; H1 Revenue GBP400.4M Vs GBP399.3M; Increases Dividend To 1.67 Pence Vs 1.52 Pence; Says Well Positioned For Future; Says CEO To Retire In First Half Of 2015

----------

COMPANIES - MAIN MARKET AND AIM

----------

Allied Minds PLC said it has agreed to create a joint venture with major US pharmaceutical group Bristol-Myers Squibb Co to identify and foster research and pre-clinical development on biopharmaceutical innovations from US university research institutions. The joint venture, Allied-Bristol Life Sciences LLC, will focus on converting discoveries from university research institutions into therapeutic candidates for clinical development. Under the deal, researchers at programmes identified by the joint venture will get access to Bristol-Myers Squibb's drug-discovery research expertise, along with financial and management advice from Allied Minds.

----------

Quindell PLC has run into trouble over one of its largest contracts, a joint venture with RAC to place telematics devices in cars, the Financial Times reports citing people familiar with the project. The IT outsourcing services provider is facing a disagreement with RAC over Connected Car Solutions, a joint venture created in April under which the pair aim to install more than 2 million black boxes at a rate of 50,000 per month, the FT said. But installation of the devices is yet to start and talks about restructuring the project have stalled, according to the people familiar with the matter.

----------

ValiRx PLC said it has been given Notice of Acceptance on the request made for clinical trial authorisation for its VAL201 cancer treatment from the UK's licensing authority. In a statement, ValiRx said it had won authorisation to begin a Phase 1/2 dose escalation study to "assess the safety and tolerability" of the drug in patients suffering from advanced or metastatic prostate cancer and other advanced solid tumours.

----------

JKX Oil & Gas PLC said that newly passed emergency budget legislation in Ukraine will substantially increase production taxes for the oil and gas industry in the country until the end of the year. The Eastern Europe-focused company said the emergency legislation takes effect from August 1 until December 31 and includes a tax increase on gas production which will increase the rate by roughly double to a level of 55%.

----------

Renew Holdings Buys Forefront Group For GBP14.8M Cash; Forefront Group Is Gas Infrastructure Engineering Co

----------

Morgan Sindall H1 Pretax Profit GBP14.2M Vs GBP15.4M; Revenue GBP998M Vs GBP1.02B; Maintains Interim Dividend At 12 Pence

----------

Rare Earth Minerals Receives Positive Results From Initial Assays At Greenland Exploration; Says 4 Of 10 Assay Samples In Greenland Exceeded 2,000ppm TREO

----------

Flybe Group CFO Has Now Stepped Down, de Klerk Joins Aug 19

----------

Ashley HouseNamed Preferred Bidder For Care Home Development By Hampshire Council; Says 100-Apartment Development Has GBP25M Value

----------

Walker Greenbank Says Trading Successful, UK Particularly Strong; UK Brand Sales Up 10.0% In 6-Mos To End-July; Overall Brand Sales Up 5.3% In 6-Mos To End-July; Remains Confident In FY Outlook

----------

Immunodiagnostic Systems Says Start To Year Satisfactory; Seeing Low Level Of Placements; Says Manual Revenue Decline Accelerating; Expects Revenue To Be Weighted To H2

----------

600 Group Acquires 26.3% Stake In ProPhotonix; To Be Largest Shareholder In ProPhotonix

----------

Leni Gas & Oil: Electric Logs Evaluation At Goudron Field, Trinidad Shows Presence of 219 Feet Of Net Pay Oil; Gros Morne Sandstone At Goudron At Primary Pressure, Expected To Give Strong Free Flowing Oil Prod

----------

Monday's Scheduled AGMs/EGMs



Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings

----------








For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel



Source: Alliance News


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters