Updates from M&S and InterContinental Hotels

Another push higher for the FTSE 100 yesterday. The Big Board climbed almost 29 points to 6,763 with Fresnillo the biggest riser, up +4.54% to 1001p with Rio Tinto behind, up +3.31% to 3,289. easyJet saw the biggest fall, down -5.09% to 1230p.

The Dow Jones finished yesterday 23 points higher at 15,639.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%We start with sharp M&S profits fall. Although overall sales were up, M&S clothing sales continue to shrink, despite its recent new season offering. Sales of non-food slipped fell -1.3% in the 13 weeks to September 28. Overall first-half profits came in at £261.6m compared with £262m last year.

M&S' food business, responsible for more than 50% of group sales overall, continues to fire on all cylinders. Sales here climbed +3.2%, higher than expected. Full-year expectations remains unchanged, says the company.

"While consumer confidence appears to be improving," says the company, "there is little evidence as yet of this translating to increased spending in the retail sector. Given continued pressure on disposable incomes, we remain cautious about the outlook for the remainder of the year."

Next, an interim from G4S for the last quarter, plus nine-month update. Overall organic growth was 4.8% in the nine-month period. Growth was 14% in emerging markets but broadly flat in developed markets.

G4S' emerging markets businesses, which account for more than 40% of group profits, continue to achieve good results it says. But trading conditions are expected to remain challenging in Europe and the USA during the fourth quarter.

G4S boss Ashley Almanza remains under huge pressure - he leads a big presentation today - on the future strategy of the business. Plus the group is facing a Serious Fraud Office investigation, along with Serco, and there are worry lines on some contracts.

Lastly, InterContinental Hotels Group. There's global third quarter RevPAR [revenue per available room] growth of +3.3%, with +3.6% in the first nine months for the company. Americas RevPAR growth was up +3.7% in the quarter and up +4.4% in the first nine months.

Third quarter European RevPAR was up +1.3% with +0.6% growth in the first nine months.
In the UK RevPAR grew +1.5% in the third quarter. London was impacted by the tough August comparatives from the Olympic Games in 2012 says the company, but outside of London growth was "good".

Its share price - currently 1797p - has been under recent pressure recently. IHG shares were worth more than 2000p in early August. US revenue growth in September stuttered though IHG's ritzier brands like Hotel Indigo have performed strongly.

  • M&S
  • G4S
  • Interco Hotels
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