Updates from Sainsbury's, Legal & General and JD Wetherspoon

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Sainsbury's, Legal & General, JD Wetherspoon
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Sainsbury's, Legal & General, JD Wetherspoon

The FTSE 100 saw almost 60 points shaved off on Tuesday, sinking to 6,927.5 by day's end. Coca-Cola HBC and Fresnillo saw the steepest rises, up 3% and 2.6% respectively (to 1417p and 730.50p). Dixons Carphone was up 1.9% to 425.90p. However BA owner IAG slumped almost 3.7% to 537p despite Citigroup restating their Buy rating on the stock.

Over in the US the Dow Jones slumped below the 18,000 barrier to 17,928.2, a 142-point drop following more Greek woes and a rise in oil prices, stoking expectations on Fed interest rates and inflation.

First off this morning, Sainsbury'sposts its first loss in a decade with a full year loss of £72m following property write-downs - though Sainsbury's says underlying profitability remains robust.

Underlying pre-tax profits fall to £681m, a 14.7% dip, compared with £798m last year. Like-for-like sales (inc VAT, ex fuel) slump 1.9%. Underlying basic earnings per share are down 19.5% to 26.4p (2013/14: 32.8p).

However clothing, general merchandise and financial services all performed well in the past 12 months, says chief exec Mike Coupe. "We have a significant ambition to grow these areas over the coming years."

Next, Q1 results from Legal & General. The value of total assets are up 17% to £736.8bn compared with £630.9bn while annuity assets are up 19% to £35.6bn compared to £38.3bn. Cash generation in Q1 of 2015 was a record, operational cash of £330m was up 11%.

The pension giant says it's benefiting from leveraging its position in pension de-risking, expanding into US and Asia as well as the private rental sector.

"Our business is aligned to long term macro growth trends," says L&G. "We are adapting well to regulatory and political challenges, for example, managing the switch to 'pension freedom' with a new range of cash and retirement products."

Lastly, a nip into JD Wetherspoon for a squint at 13-week trading numbers. Like-for-like sales increased 1.7% and total sales 5.8%. Year-to-date (39 weeks to 26 April 2015) like-for-like sales increased 3.6% and total sales were up 7.9%.

The second half of the last financial year was strong, which will make it more difficult to improve on in the current year, warns Wetherspoon in its trading update.

"Our expectations for this full financial year remain unchanged." It adds an increase in pub numbers, stable utility prices and slightly lower interest rates bode positively.

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