The FTSE 100 lost almost 24 points on Tuesday, ending at 6,622.7. Next took the biggest tumble on its latest profits update, falling 3.79% to 6605p while Prudential also fell heavily, down 2.72% to 1376p. M&S shares also suffered again, down 2.60% to 404.60p. Rather better news for Primark owner ABF though, up 4.53% to 2679p while Sainsbury's shares also saw some respite, up 1.70% to 251.50p.
The Dow Jones drifted 28 points south to 17,042.9 following a bunch of lacklustre economic news.
The big news this morning is a trading statement from Sainsbury's, recovering from its 50p extra per visit gaffe the previous day. Like-for-like Retail sales for the second quarter slumps 2.8% (ex fuel), and down 4.1% (inc fuel). That means a sales slip for the third quarter in a row for the grocer.
However general merchandise and clothing businesses continue to deliver strong growth claims Sainsburys while hits convenience business continues to grow strongly, at around 17%.
"In the second quarter," says the grocer, "our performance has been impacted by the accelerated pace of change in the grocery market, including significant pricing activity and food price deflation in many areas. These conditions are likely to persist for the foreseeable future."
Next, an update from exhibitions player ITE Group plc. It confirms a better-than-expected trading performance in Q4 with headline pre-tax profits for FY 2014 to be ahead of consensus.
Revenues for FY 2014 are expected to be circa £174m (though 2013 profits were worth £193m). Overall, like-for-like revenues on a constant currency basis were 6% higher than last year, although 7% lower on an actual currency basis.
Economic sanctions have had little direct effect on its Russian business to date it claims but are expected to weigh in the future, ITE says.
Finally, regeneration player St.Modwen Properties says management expectations for the full year's profit before tax have increased beyond existing market consensus - expected to be materially ahead of 2013.
There's a noticeable climb in tenant enquiries across its sites and occupancy levels remain high it says. Development opportunities in the regions have also increased as the year has progressed, it claims.
"We continue to add," says chief exec Bill Oliver, "to our UK development pipeline as we start on site with a variety of projects, including the 150,000 sq ft Marks & Spencer store at Longbridge, Birmingham and the next phase at Swansea University's £450m Bay Campus development."
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