Anthony Bolton may think the world is about to end, but you wouldn’t think so from some of the large companies reporting figures today ahead of expectations.
The London Stock Exchange announced a 55 per cent rise in pre-exceptional operating profits to £185.6m for the year to March 31. Its shares, unchanged today at £12.90, remain comfortably above the £12.43 it rejected from Nasdaq.
J Sainsbury said underlying profits were up by 42.3 per cent, ahead of expectations. However, news that it won’t sell its property is holding the shares back a bit. And Compass seems to have found its bearings again with a very strong set of first half figures, including great progress on margins.
Much less good is the news from Next. Its trading update looks bad. The shares are off about 5 per cent. It says “mainline like-for-like sales in the 336 stores that were unaffected by new openings were down -2.7%” in the 15 weeks to 12 May. French Connection’s trading statement looks weak as well – the shares are off 9 per cent.
And DSG International, owner of Currys and PC World, is taking a £180m-£200m restructuring and impairment charge reflecting problems in its Italian, French and mobile phone businesses.
We’ll have some fun today with the confirmation that Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, chairman of United Breweries, is buying privately-held Glasgow distiller Whyte & Mackay for £595m.