Massive corporate news day today. The most surprising is yet to come, I understand (check back on FT.com in the early afternoon), but until then the best story is the poor performance of Moneysupermarket’s IPO. The shares were priced at the bottom of the range, at 170p, but immediately fell nearly 10 per cent to 155p. Credit Suisse was the bookrunner. The advisers are blaming market conditions.
There may be something in this, of course. The FTSE 100 is off again. Shares in Ashmore, the recently-floated emerging markets fund manager, are off almost 9 per cent while BlueBay, the recently-floated credit fund manager, is also off more than 8 per cent.
We have strong Q2 earnings from Royal Dutch Shell; weaker than expected interims from Bradford & Bingley; Rolls Royce saying it has been hit by the weak dollar and higher raw material prices; and BT’s Q1s have benefited from a tax credit, although it is doing well in broadband. Decent Q1s from Carphone Warehouse as well. Oddly, telecom stocks are dropping like stones: BT and Carphone are both off, but so is Vodafone.
Elsewhere in retail the picture is fair to rotten. Monsoon issued very disappointing full-year results and said like-for-like sales in the seven weeks to July 15 were off a hefty 13 per cent. The recovery at Kingfisher’s B&Q chain seems to be faltering in the UK, no thanks to the weather of course. Then again, Kesa’s first half sales seem decent enough and John David Group’s trading update is very strong.
National Express has beaten expectations with its H1 figures but plans a big shake-up of its UK operations. BAT also beat forecasts with its H1s, although it sounds a bit cautious about the second half.
We also have some more pharmaceutical results, following GlaxoSmithKline’s yesterday. At first glance, AstraZeneca’s Q2 numbers looked mixed, with sales good but costs high. Shire, however, which also has its Q2s today, looks pretty good.
Anyway, that’s it from me for a month. I have a sabbatical so the blog will return at the end of August. Have a great summer.
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