Updates from Sports Direct and SSE

easyJet shares fly high


The FTSE 100 climbed 74.2 points to 6,784.6 on Wednesday; Meggitt saw the biggest lift by some margin, up 9.57% on takeover speculation while easyJet shares also took off, up 6.2% to 1357p. Royal Mail shares took the most pressure, dipping 1.8% to 479.50p.

The Dow Jones climbed 77 points to 17,138.20 helped by stronger deal and earnings news.

We start with a full year update from Sports Direct. Reported profit before tax is up 15.6% to £239.5m (FY13: £207.2m) while retail like-for-like stores sales climb 10.5% (FY13: 10.6%).

Underlying free cash generation is worth £277.2m. Consistent with previous guidance, Sports Direct is targeting underlying EBITDA (before share scheme costs) of £360m for the current period.

"Overall trading," it says, "since the year end has been in line with management's expectations with some stronger weeks offset by England's disappointing World Cup matches."

Next, SSE sees more customer drift: the overall number of electricity and gas customer customers falls from 9.10 million to 8.99 million.

The energy supplier claims it remains on course to achieve its financial objective of a full-year dividend increase that keeps pace with RPI inflation.

SSE froze prices in the Spring until January 2016 following gas and electricity bill hikes of more than eight per cent in October.

Finally, Land Securities says it will continue to sell assets which don't meet certain criteria; for the moment it's focusing on the development of new retail centres in locations such as Oxford and Glasgow.

It recently snapped up a 30% stake in Bluewater, Kent - the centre has performed strongly in the last five years, despite the economic downturn - with management rights for the centre and 110 acres of surrounding land, for £696m.

London leasing momentum continues with 385,000 sq ft of deals agreed. Its scheme at 1 & 2 New Ludgate, EC4 is 61% pre-let nine months ahead of completion.

Update: American media group Liberty Global buys a 6.4% stake in ITV

Sports Direct
Land Securities