Fashion retailers looking good for UK investors
on 30/10/2013 17:24:23
Despite worries over an unseasonally mild autumn, the retailer bumped up profit guidance, pushing its shares almost 5% higher, also lifting fellow clothing giants Marks & Spencer and Primark owner Associated British Foods.
But the wider FTSE 100 Index trod water, closing up just 3 points at 6,777.7, as attention focused on the US Federal Reserve's interest rates decision due later tonight.
Germany's Dax and France's Cac 40 closed in mildly negative territory, while the London market remained at a five-month high.
Confidence has been underpinned by expectations that the US Federal Reserve will decide to maintain its current level of stimulus for the economy, resisting so-called tapering.
Fears that the Fed would soon start to taper its regular multi-billion dollar asset purchase drive have haunted markets for months, but damage caused by America's recent government shutdown looks likely to mean the support will remain for the immediate future.
On the currency markets sterling made tentative gains against the dollar to 1.61 after data showed US businesses added just 130,000 jobs in October as the government shutdown impacted. The pound was flat against the euro at 1.17.
Next topped the risers board after it lifted profits guidance from a range of £635 million to £675 million to a new bracket of £650m to £680m.
Sales in its third quarter to October 26 were up 4.3%, including another strong performance from its Next Directory online and catalogue business but also a 0.4% rise in retail stores, following a weather-hit first half dip of 0.9%. Shares rose 245p to 5450p.
Fellow high street chain Marks & Spencer rose 7.6p to 493.2p, ahead of its interim results due next week. Associated British Foods was also 26p firmer to 2222p.
Barclays also did well, despite a 26% fall in third-quarter profits and a warning to shareholders that it had been drawn into a worldwide investigation into alleged manipulation of currency rates.
The group also said it had not increased its compensation provision for customers mis-sold payment protection insurance - unlike rival Lloyds Banking Group, which has had to top up funds set aside for PPI by £750m to more than £8bn.
Analysts at Credit Suisse said Barclays' quarterly performance was 2% ahead of City estimates. Shares climbed 2.4p to 268.5p
The biggest faller on the FTSE 100 was insurer Standard Life, dropping 14.7p to 354.5p after third quarter figures missed City expectations.
Outside the top flight, pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond gained 2.75p to 45.25p after it said lenders had agreed to put off a covenant test until February while it strives to resolve financing issues.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Next up 245p to 5450p, Experian 40p firmer to 1270p, Travis Perkins 36p stronger to 1848p and Marks & Spencer up 7.6p to 493.2p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Standard Life down 14.7p to 354.5p, Pearson 49p higher to 1316p, Standard Chartered 35.5p lower to 1508p and Schroders down 59p to 2619p.