Sports Direction?

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Does Sports Direct actually know how it’s performing? I only ask because, despite breaking the habit of its short life as a public company by not issuing a profit warning with today’s trading statement, it provided no figure for whether sales are up or down. Neither on a like-for-like basis, nor any other basis. The statement contains sales figures for the 13 weeks ending July 29 this year but you are left to guess whether this is better or worse than last year. Philip Dorgan at Panmure Gordon reckons total sales are down 7 per cent and like-for-likes down 20 per cent. No news either on a new non-executive chairman, of course. The company holds its first AGM today and we’re sending Tom Braithwaite.

Resolution Life has moved to head off possible opposition from Pearl to its planned £7.9bn merger with rival insurer Friends Provident by lowering the level of shareholder approval it needs from 75 per cent to 51 per cent. It has also raised its forecast for savings in an effort to ward off opposition to the agreed deal. Hugh Osmond’s Pearl has 16 per cent of Resolution. Asked this morning if it planned to make a bid for Resolution, Pearl said: ”We rule nothing in and nothing out.”

Tullett Prebon “is one of those rare businesses that profits from volatility,” said Terry Smith, chief executive, this morning. “August was our third consecutive record month with trading revenues up 30 per cent.” You wouldn’t know it from the share price, which is down 8 per cent since the beginning of July. It’s probably dollar-related but I’m sure Terry will explain later.

Bovis Homes reported a 10 per cent rise in first-half pre-tax profits to £58.4m but said the UK housing market had softened.

Finally, there’s an interesting line in the Journal today about Nasdaq and the LSE apparently co-operating to some degree over the sale of Nasdaq’s 31 per cent stake. You can see why they might, but it’s quite a change of mood.

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