The Dow Jones almost matched London's fall, down 1.9% to 17,596.3 points with Visa and Boeing falling hard. Bond buying was heavy. This morning the Nikkei climbed slightly but uncertainty is pervasive. There's continued caution on Chinese stocks too.
A subdued day on the company announcements front. We start with half-year numbers from Ocado. Gross sales hit £511.9m for the 24 weeks to 17 May, a 15.7% climb while revenues surge 18.2% to £507.7m. Ocado claims there was new customer growth of more than 30% year on year.
Own-label sales were up 25% says the grocer. However the broader grocery market remains highly competitive, plus deflationary pressures continue to bite acknowledges Ocado.
Shares in HSS yesterday tumbled 25%, touching 133p at one point. The tool hire company, in a trading update, said second quarter performance was "marginally below" previous hopes.
Warmer seasonal spring weather took its toll, particularly on HSS' cooling equipment hire (HSS has more than 250 stores in UK and Ireland). HSS claims it saw June customer activity beginning "to return to more normalised levels, with order books building into the second half of the year".
But brokers yesterday snipped their full-year revenue forecasts by up to 5%. Shares recovered to 134p by the day's end. HSS went public in February at 210p.
Lastly, Sky is putting pressure on Ofcom for an investigation into BT's broadband operation. Yesterday it told Ofcom that the Competition and Markets Authority should now step in. BT, in turn, has accused Sky of "selective spin".
Sky was particularly dismissive of BT's Openreach division. Openreach's service issues "have a direct impact on consumers and small businesses in the UK, resulting in dissatisfaction and significant detriment," said Sky in a statement to Ofcom.
This subsequently affects competition in the market claims Sky, discouraging consumers from switching services – a status quo that favours BT Sky claims.
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