Updates from Royal Mail, SSE and Burberry

A 42 point drop for the FTSE 100 yesterday to 6,802. Vodafone endured the most pain, with its shares falling 5.46% to 205.30p following fresh worries for underlying earnings. ARM Holdings slipped 2.65% to 845p while Morrisons, after a lift on Monday, sank 2.10% to 209.50p.

In contrast, cruise operator Carnival saw shares crest 3.39% higher to 2380p. The Dow Jones sank almost 140 points to 16,374.3 not helped by retailers reporting grim sales. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
We start with preliminary numbers from SSE, the UK's second biggest energy company. Adjusted earnings per share climb 4.1% to 123.4 pence while adjusted profit before tax climbs 9.6% to £1,551.1m.

Reported profit before tax is up 0.7% to £575.3m. The full-year dividend is increased 3.0% to 86.7 pence per share. Last November SSE hiked gas and electricity prices by an average 8.2% though it has subsequently promised to hold prices till 2016.

SSE chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin says the company remains committed "to giving investors a fair return through an annual dividend that at least keeps pace with inflation."

Next, full year preliminary numbers from macs-to-bags player Burberry. Retail, wholesale and digital initiatives have delivered a 17% increase in revenue to £2,330m, with adjusted profit before tax up 8% to £461m and reported profit before tax up 27%, Burberry claims.

"While mindful of macroeconomic uncertainties and currency headwinds," Burberry says, "we remain focused on the things we can control and confident of driving sustainable future growth, benefiting all our stakeholders."

The full year dividend rises to 32.0p, up 10%. Net cash stands at £403m at year-end, up £106m. Retail/wholesale revenue climb by 19%.

Lastly, news that Royal Mail is to start a Sunday service for parcel deliveries. Royal Mail is concentrating the move on delivery offices with high parcel volume. There will also be some Sunday deliveries within the London M25 orbit.

The move puts Royal Mail in line with other rival delivery operators such as Hermes that will be offering Sunday services. Royal Mail claims the move has full support of the unions.

Royal Mail tomorrow delivers full year figures this week. Berenberg claims forecast earnings before interest and tax and other costs of £615m in 2014 will come in around 3% ahead of consensus, "which currently stands at £597m," the Guardian reports.

Royal Mail

Read Full Story