Updates from Poundland, Premier Farnell and Bankers Investment Trust
No easing on pressure for the FTSE 100 on Wednesday, down 30 points to 6,680.5, the lowest point since the beginning of the year. Experian and Land SecuritiesGroup saw 2.9% and 2.5% falls (to 1179p and 1236p respectively) with BritishLand also drifting lower, by 2.4% to 812p. Housebuilders though were in the ascendant (though modestly) with Persimmon up 1.6% to 1991p and Barratt up 1.5% to 618.50p.
Slightly better news across the Atlantic with the Dow Jones climbing 31 points to 17,935.7 helped by the Fed sticking to its benchmark interest rate; P&G shares were yesterday's biggest winners, up 1.2%.
We begin on the high street outside Poundland: for the full year the ubiquitous retailer claims sales are up 11.8% on a constant currency basis breaking £1bn. Operating earnings climb 9.9% to £59.4m (2014: £54.0m). Like-for-like sales were up 2.4% (2014: 1.9%).
For the 11 weeks to 14 June sales were ahead by 4.1% on a constant currency basis. On an actual basis sales increased 3.5% to £228.9m (2014: £221.3m). Poundland opened six stores but expects to open at least a net 40 by the end of the first half.
"We saw strong trading," says chief exec Jim McCarthy, "in the UK and Ireland and our international expansion plans in Spain are proceeding well with seven multi-price Dealz stores now open."
We shift from the high street to electrical components player Premier Farnell. Q1 group sales climbed 5.4%. European sales growth was 5.9%. Weakness in the UK was offset by a strong Continental Europe performance which saw growth of 12.2% says the company.
Group gross profit at constant currency was 2% lower; gross margins declined due to the impact of higher-than-expected Raspberry Pi sales and a bumpy ride on the foreign exchange front, particularly the Euro.
"Whilst we expect first half adjusted operating profit to be marginally below the prior year," says boss Laurence Bain, "we anticipate adjusted operating profit for the full year to be broadly in line with the prior period."
Lastly, Bankers Investment Trust claim a net asset value per share rise of 13.3% to 666.3p compared with 574.5p a year ago; that compares with a 9.2% climb in the value of the FTSE all-share.
The share price total return of 13.9% reflected the narrowing of the discount to NAV from 5.5% to 4.9% says Bankers. Strong stock selection was recorded by Japanese, North American, European and UK fund managers.
Corporate confidence remains at high levels claims the company, "helped in part by continued strength in corporate balance sheets, one would hope for some further positive returns from global equities for the balance of the year."
Breaking news: Barratt says it is hiring William Hill finance boss Neil Cooper
Investors' guide to Isas
The Economist - claim your free issue
Trading Indices - free 23-page guide