Updates from Barclays, BT and Morrisons


The FTSE 100 slipped just two points on Wednesday, ending at 6,796.4. Bad news extended to Experian, sinking 6.53% to 1060p and Morrisons, whose shares slumped more than 5.5% to 190.80p. However G4S climbed more than 4% to 250.20p.

The Dow Jones took a 117.52 point bounce in its stride, despite continued tech pressure.

Prepare for a simpler Barclays. That's the gist of Barclays strategy update, released this morning. But Barclays' changes brings 14,000 job losses globally across the group, and a big cut in its investment bank activities.

Plans for its investment bank will result in headcount cuts of 7,000 by 2016. However the headcount axe overall has swung heavier and wider than anticipated; previously the numbers overall for the group were thought to number closer to 10,000-12,000.

The changes should deliver a banking operation much more focused on the retail market. "Barclays," says boss Antony Jenkins, "will be leaner, stronger, much better balanced and well positioned to deliver lower volatility, higher returns, and growth."

Next, Morrisons sharp share price fall yesterday is reflected in this morning's interim numbers: in the 13 weeks to 4 May total sales excluding fuel were down 4.2% while like for like sales - which excludes new stores open less than a year - crash 7.1% lower.

Morrisons claims they are on schedule to have 200 convenience stores open by the end of the year. Meanwhile its online business is expected to reach up to 50% of UK households by the end of the year, it claims.

"Whilst the trading environment," says Morrisons, "remains challenging, our financial outlook for the full year of underlying profit before tax in the range of £325m - £375m, remains unchanged."

Finally, fourth quarter numbers from BT up to 31 March. Revenues slip 1% to £4,748m though reported profit before tax soars 17% to £747m. Adjusted earnings per share climbs 10% to 9p.

BT claims its BT Sport offering BT Sport has proved popular and is now in five million homes. For BT Consumer it sees a 9% growth in revenue in the fourth quarter and lowest line losses for five years.

"We have made strong progress this year," claims chief exec Gavin Patterson. "Underlying revenue, adjusted profit before tax and normalised free cash flow have all grown and beaten market expectations."