Updates from Samsung and Victrex


A 1.09% plunge for the FTSE 100 yesterday, to 6,622.8. Barratt Developments and Hargreaves Lansdown were the biggest fallers, down 5.0% and 4.94% respectively. GKN also fell hard, down 4.04% to 389.70p. Centrica though climbed 1.92% to 334.80p.

The Dow Jones fell again yesterday, down 1.02% to 16,245 points. Expect a rash of first quarter results later in the week.

We start with a profit drop for Samsung. The electronics giant anticipates an operating profit of 8.4 trillion won (around £4.8bn) for the first quarter of the year, representing a 4% fall compared to the same time frame in 2013.

Part of the problem is more subdued growth in the premium smart phone sector, though mid-range and lower-priced models prop up sales. However earnings are likely to improve shortly with the launch of the Galaxy S5.

It's thought Samsung will cut its marketing spend on the new 'phone to help keep margins tight in a revised back-to-basics strategy. The company's share price has dipped more than 10% since the start of the year.

Next, a half year sales update from polymers player Victrex. Trading for the first half year sustained the momentum reported for Q1, with strong sales volume, principally reflecting a second quarter well ahead of expectations, Victrex claims.

Group sales volume for the first half of 1584 tonnes was 14% ahead of the softer volume comparative in 2013 (H1 2013: 1392 tonnes) but with a less favourable mix. First half performance reflects broad based growth across its strategic markets, it claims.

"Looking forward," says the company in a statement, "whilst first half growth was particularly strong, we remain very mindful of a much tougher year on year comparative for the second half, and of currency headwinds."

Lastly, student accommodation player UNITE Group claims its UK Student Accommodation Fund has increased to £853.6 million (31 December 2013: £727.2 million) as a result of an underlying increase in value of 2.8%, plus the impact of £106 million of new capital raised in March.

Currently the fund has 21,673 beds in 59 properties across 19 UK towns and cities, independently valued at £1,362 million (31 December 2013 £1,355 million). The portfolio is now valued at an average yield of 6.63% at 31 March 2014 (31 December 2013: 6.64%).

Reservations across USAF's properties for the academic year starting in September 2014 stands at 61%, ahead of the 56% at the same point in 2013, the company claims.