Updates from Debenhams, Go-Ahead Group and London Stock Exchange

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Sage group, Morrisons, Sainsbury's Debenhams
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Sage group, Morrisons, Sainsbury's Debenhams

The FTSE 100 inched up just 9.9 points on Wednesday, making 6,844.8 by day's end. A tiny 0.15% lift. RoyalMail shares though swung 2.8% higher to 524p while there was better news for supermarkets: Morrisons shares climbed 2.6% to 184.50p and Sainsbury's 2.3% to 275.50p helped by talk of a joint buying relationship. The biggest loser, by some margin, was SageGroup whose shares plummeted 6% to 516p after it admitted it was shuttering more than 130 offices.

The Dow Jones tumbled 178 points, dragging it under the 18,000 barrier to 17,966 as the Greek debt impasse reared its head yet again. For the week the index is down almost 50 points.

We start this morning on the high street outside Debenhams. For the last 15 weeks group like-for-like sales haven't budged at 0.0% though over a 41-week period they're up 0.9%. Online sales fare better, up 16.7% and 13.9% (over 41 weeks).

Debenhams says its new season was brought forward into the first half diluting like-for-like sales by 1% over the 15-week period. However group gross transaction value rose 0.4%, pushing the cumulative year-on-year performance 1.7% it claims.

"On a constant currency basis," says the company, "International sales have shown similar patterns to H1, with Magasin du Nord continuing to deliver good growth helped by a recovering Danish economy."

Next, London Stock Exchange Group. For the last five months (to 31 May) the LSE Group says it performed "well" with good demand for Information Services products. Professional users of both UK and Italian market real time information dipped slightly against Q1 2015 it says.

"We are focused," says boss Xavier Rolet, "on achieving integration and efficiency benefits, both from the acquisitions we have made and organically, including the many initiatives highlighted in our Post Trade strategy update last month."

In terms of fixed income trading, its MTS money markets value traded increased 26% while cash markets value traded declined 4%.

Lastly, a pre-close update from the Go-Ahead Group. Boss David Brown says full year expectations remain unchanged with the company working closely with Network Rail on the on-going £6.5bn Thameslink Programme.

Regionally however, revenue and passenger journey growth slowed in the fourth quarter says Go-Ahead with ongoing economic weakness in the north east affecting operations while roadworks in Oxford and Brighton significantly affected services.

Trading meanwhile from the Southeastern franchise is very encouraging. "In the first quarter of next year we expect the DfT to announce the successful bidders for the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises for which we are bidding."

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