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FTSE 100 Rises 0.4% as Retail Gains

08/20/2021 | 12:20pm

The FTSE 100 closed Friday up after a poor week, with retailers pushing London's blue-chip index higher on the final day of the week. The FTSE 100 rose 0.4% after data showed U.K. retail sales fell 2.5% on month in July but rose 5.2% on quarter in the three months to July and was 5.8% higher than its pre-pandemic February 2020 level. JD Sports Fashion led the index's gains, as its shares rose 2.9%. "JD Sports is leading the gainers, probably as a result of a decent read across after U.S. sector peer Foot Locker posted a strong second quarter update that beat estimates across the board," CMC's Michael Hewson says. Tobacco companies British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands were up too. On the red side, Anglo American fell 1.5% and was the FTSE 100's worst performer on Friday. The mining giant declared $3.1 billion in dividends last month, and its London shares went ex-dividend on Thursday.

Companies News: 

Interactive Investor Weighs IPO -Sky News

Investment platform Interactive Investor is considering an initial public offering that could value the business at up to two billion pounds ($2.73 billion), Sky News reports.


Morrisons Agrees to $9.55 Bln CD&R Takeover Offer

Wm. Morrison Supermarkets PLC has agreed to a takeover offer from Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC that values it at seven billion pounds ($9.55 billion), withdrawing its recommendation of a previous bid from a consortium led by SoftBank Group Corp.'s Fortress Investment Group LLC.


Marks & Spencer Raises FY 2022 Profit Outlook After Strong Start

Marks & Spencer Group PLC on Friday raised its adjusted profit guidance for fiscal 2022 as a result of a strong start to the year, with sales growth across all segments.


Vertu Motors Raises FY 2022 Profit View; Plans Buyback

Vertu Motors PLC said Friday that it is raising its pretax profit estimate for fiscal 2022 and that it plans to start a share buyback program for an initial amount of up to 3 million pounds ($4.1 million).


Argo Blockchain Files for U.S. IPO of American Depositary Shares

Argo Blockchain PLC said Friday it has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of its American depositary shares.


Colefax Group Plans Tender Offer for Up to 14% of Shares

Colefax Group PLC said Friday that it is offering shareholders the opportunity to sell back their shares via a tender offer at a minimum price of 615 pence a share.


Logistics Development Group Swung to 1H 2021 Pretax Profit

Logistics Development Group PLC said Friday that it swung to a pretax profit for the first half of fiscal 2021 after booking lower costs, and that it isn't declaring an interim dividend.


Kingspan Group 1H Boosted by High Demand, Construction-Sector Recovery

Kingspan Group PLC on Friday reported a 67% rise in pretax profit for the first half of the year on revenue that also rose, boosted by high demand and a global recovery in the construction sector.

Market Talk: 

Plus500's Revenue Guidance Prompts Forecast Upgrades

0939 GMT - Plus500 guiding for 2021 revenue to be significantly ahead of consensus prompts Jefferies to upgrade its 2021-23 revenue forecasts by 16% to 17%. This is a reflection of the company's higher active client base and implies a strong 2H start, with upside from growth initiatives such as the U.S. rollout, the U.S. bank says. Furthermore, this is consistent with analyst's views that the online trading platform's historical average lifetime revenue per user applied to the Covid-19-era cohort of new clients was being under-appreciated, the bank says. "Historical average client revenue curves continue to suggest upside to our base case forecasts and a strong balance sheet provides funding capacity for value-enhancing M&A," Jefferies says. (anthony.orunagoriainoff@dowjones.com)

Marks & Spencer's Strong Start to Year Signals Progress

0906 GMT - Marks & Spencer Group jumps 10% after the U.K. clothing and food retailer raised its adjusted profit guidance for the year to April following a strong start. The news shows the company's turnaround efforts under Chief Executive Steve Rowe are gaining some traction, AJ Bell says. "One swallow doesn't make a summer, with pandemic risks and supply-chain issues still to contend with, but M&S's confidence in lifting guidance so early in its financial year is undoubtedly a positive sign," Bell analyst Danni Hewson says. "The food business, which has come to the firm's rescue time and time again in the last two decades, is still performing robustly," Hewson says. (philip.waller@wsj.com)

UK Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fell in July, Weak Growth Expected in Coming Months

0904 GMT - U.K. retail sales fell 2.5% on the month in July 2021, but HSBC doesn't see too much cause for alarm. "Some rotation away from goods into services is to be expected as the service sector reopens, and the level of retail sales volumes in April was an all-time high," HSBC's senior economist Elizabeth Martin says. According to the economist, other reasons for the decline were the bad weather, supply shortages across the retail sector, and large numbers of people isolating after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. With retail sales volumes back above their pre-pandemic levels, Martin doesn't expect particularly strong rates of growth in U.K. retail sales in the coming months. (maria.martinez@wsj.com)

Morrisons Takeover Seen as Having Limited Impact on Tesco Bonds

0839 GMT - The potential takeover of Wm. Morrison by a private equity firm is unlikely to have an immediate impact on the corporate bonds of the U.K.'s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, ING says. Morrisons, the country's fourth-largest grocer, has agreed to a takeover offer of 285 pence a share from Clayton Dubilier & Rice. "Part of the plan with Wm. Morrison is to invest in online and wholesale growth, which could increase competition for Tesco," ING's Alyssa Gammoudy says. However, she says Tesco is "well positioned to offer resilience as they benefit from the 'first mover' advantage and are the leading grocer in the U.K." She doesn't expect an immediate impact on Tesco's credit curve. (lorena.ruibal@wsj.com)

Contact: London NewsPlus, Dow Jones Newswires; paul.larkins@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

08-20-21 1219ET

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