Updates from Royal Mail, Kingfisher and Wolseley
The FTSE 100 lost almost 37 points yesterday, pushed back to 6,520.3. Miners took the biggest swings south with Randgold Resources down 4.22% to 4627p and Fresnillo down 3.73% to 852p. British engineers Smiths Group was also hit heavily, tumbling 3.25% to 1280p as first-half profits were impacted by a rising pound. The biggest climber was BG Group, up 1.93%.
In the US, some tech stocks took a hammering with Facebook falling 5%; the Dow Jones fell 0.16% overall to 16,276.6. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
We start with breaking news from Royal Mail, and a 1,600 jobs cull. Royal Mail claims the vast majority of employees impacted will be operational and head office management. No jobs lost for delivery staff or from Royal Mail services.
The sackings are expected to save Royal Mail around £50 million, of which approximately £25 million will be returned in 2014-15 claims Royal Mail. Talks with Unite and CWU begin shortly.
"Royal Mail's primary reason for existing is now about making profits rather than serving the nation," Brian Scott, Unite officer for Royal Mail, told the BBC. Management claims the move is necessary for Royal Mail to compete in the letters and parcels market.
Next, Kingfisher, owner of Screwfix and B&Q. Adjusted full-year pre-tax profits climb 4.1% to £744m with the full year dividend rising 5%. Q1 was "extremely challenging" but the remainder of year is "more encouraging".
The persistent French weak economic backdrop continues to worry says the company. But there is an accounting gain of £131m, relating to the resolution of the Kesa demerger French tax case Kingfisher says.
"Looking ahead," says boss Sir Ian Cheshire, "we are well placed to benefit from a pick-up in consumer spending as Europe's economies return to growth. Our prospects remain bright, giving us confidence to invest in the business and actively manage our portfolio."
Next, heating and plumbing operator Wolseley and a bump in first half-year pre-tax profits. Trading profits for the ongoing businesses climb to £360 million, 8.8% ahead of last year while headline earnings per share are 15.3% ahead to 91.4 pence.
There's a proposed interim dividend of 27.5 pence per share, 25.0% ahead of last year. Like-for-like revenue growth rate in the USA...has been in line with what the business generated in Q1 says Wolseley.
Like-for-like revenue growth rate for the Group as a whole is consistent with first half performance says boss Ian Meakins. "We expect the Group's like-for-like revenue growth rate for the remainder of the year to be about 4%."