|Bid||178.00 x 0|
|Ask||184.00 x 0|
|Day's range||179.70 - 183.30|
|52-week range||179.70 - 315.00|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||1.02|
|PE ratio (TTM)||86.31|
|Earnings date||6 Nov 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.14 (7.52%)|
|1y target est||294.84|
UK shares bagged gains for the day, reversing earlier losses, after the United States said it would delay tariffs on some Chinese products, offering respite to investors who had been gripped with fears over the trade dispute. The FTSE 100, which had started off the session in the red amid Hong Kong protests and the U.S.-China trade worries, ended 0.3% higher. The midcap index rose 0.5%.
More than 50 British retailers, including Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer, Asda and Morrisons have urged the government to freeze business rates to help out the struggling sector. In a letter to the new finance minister Sajid Javid, published on Tuesday, the retailers called on the government to take action to "fix the broken business rates system". Business rates are taxes to help pay for local services, charged on most commercial properties, including shops, warehouses, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
Investors continue to flee from this FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE: UKX) stock at an alarming rate. But are they missing a trick?
Insurer Phoenix reported a surge in profit in the first half of 2019 as it bought out more British corporate pension schemes, but it warned that the money coming into its open book business had been reduced by Brexit-related worries. The FTSE-100 company, which has boomed by taking over a number of closed pension schemes from UK companies anxious to offload the long-term risks, reported a 50.5% jump in operating profit to 325 million pounds ($395.23 million) for the six months ended June 30. While it reported an 18% drop in cash generation in the first half, Phoenix said it expects to be towards the upper end of its cash generation target of 600-700 million pounds for the year.
Britain's stock market indexes fell sharply on Monday, joining a sell-off in global markets, as U.S.-China trade tensions prompted investors to seek safe-haven assets, while Ocado and Marks & Spencer fell after sealing a deal to set up an online food joint venture. The FTSE 100 shed 2.5% in its worst day since early December, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 sank 2% and hit its lowest level in two months.
Outsourcing group Capita on Thursday showed how its restructuring efforts are starting to pay off as the company reported first-half results that included higher margins in some businesses, sending its shares as much as 22% higher. Capita, which provides IT-led services for the public and private sector, also stuck to its full-year profit forecast. Like a number of other UK outsourcers, Capita has been overhauling its business to control costs and pay down debt after years of acquisitions that made its complex structure unprofitable.
Fashion chain Next shrugged off Britain's retail gloom on Wednesday with a surprise 4% rise in full-price sales, helping drive its shares to their highest in a year. Chief Executive Simon Wolfson said full-price sales in its first quarter through July were boosted by not clearing as much surplus stock in its half-price sale, one of the most eagerly awaited in Britain's retail sector. Next, which vies with rivals including Marks & Spencer for the position of Britain's top clothing retailer, had predicted a 0.5% fall in full-price sales, reflecting a tough comparison with last year when the weather was exceptionally hot.
Traditional retailers around the world, such as Carrefour, its French rival Casino and Marks & Spencer, are stepping up their online presence to deal with the increase in purchases done over the Internet. Carrefour, which is Europe's largest retailer, said group operating profits rose 2.6% from the same period last year to 618 million euros ($690 million). Carrefour had a 282 million euros improvement in cash-flow, while recurring operating profits at its competitive, key home French market rose by 6 million euros to 116 million.
British online fashion retailer ASOS warned on profits for the third time since December, saying problems ramping up warehouses in the United States and Germany had restricted product availability, hitting sales and raising costs.
Carrefour has teamed up with Spanish start-up Glovo to provide a fast home delivery service as the French supermarket group looks to deal with growing competition from the likes of Amazon as well as domestic rivals. Other supermarkets around the world are forming deals with online partners such as Amazon and others to meet growing demand from customers for home delivery services.
Shares in Marks and Spencer Group plc (LON: MKS) have come under pressure this year, and there's a good chance they could fall another 30% says this Fool.
FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE: UKX) heavyweights Lloyds Banking Group plc (LON: LLOY) and Marks and Spencer Group plc (LON: MKS) are unloved, but offer 6% dividend yields.
The chief executive of Marks & Spencer is to assume direct leadership of the British retailer's troubled clothing business after sacking the division's boss just two days after publicly criticising chronic product availability. Jill McDonald, clothing, home & beauty managing director, is leaving the business after less than two years in the job, M&S said on Thursday.
British retailer Marks & Spencer is targeting a doubling of its 6 billion pound ($7.5 billion) food business, driven by its new joint venture with online supermarket Ocado, chairman Archie Norman said on Tuesday. M&S bought a 50% share in Ocado's UK retail business for an initial 562.5 million pounds ($701 million) in February, which will provide M&S with a home-delivery service from September 2020 at the latest. "Our ambition is to double the size of our food business and Ocado sets us well on the way to doing that," Norman told investors at M&S's annual shareholders' meeting, held at Wembley Stadium in London.
British retailer Marks & Spencer is targeting a doubling of its 6 billion pound food business, driven by its new joint venture with online supermarket Ocado , chairman Archie Norman said on Tuesday. M&S bought a 50% share in Ocado's UK retail business for an initial 562.5 million pounds in February, which will provide M&S with a home-delivery service from September 2020 at the latest. "Our ambition is to double the size of our food business and Ocado sets us well on the way to doing that," Norman told investors at M&S's annual shareholders' meeting, held at Wembley Stadium in London.
(Bloomberg) -- Ocado Group Plc shares surged after the U.K. online grocer reassured investors that its strategy is on track despite a fire that leveled one of its warehouses earlier this year.The company maintained its full-year sales guidance even as it estimates the blaze in February will cut earnings by 15 million pounds ($18.8 million). The shares gained as much as 7.7% in London, the most in more than four months.Though the incident at the automated facility in Andover, England, trimmed retail sales in the first half, the company still expects full-year growth of as much as 15%. Ocado has removed some decorative parts from robots after saying an electrical fault that ignited a plastic lid on one of the machines caused the fire.“We’ve taken some steps to dramatically reduce the effects of it happening again,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Steiner said by phone.The company said it made further progress in its shift from e-commerce sales to becoming more of a software and robotics platform. Revenue from grocery partners that have licensed its technology rose by more than one-third from a year earlier. Ocado has struck technology deals with the likes of Kroger Co. in the U.S., and Steiner said the company is eyeing additional agreements in other countries.‘Encouraging Execution’“Qualitative updates are encouraging,” Numis analysts wrote in a note, pointing to “encouraging execution on current solutions deals.”Ocado formed a joint venture with Marks & Spencer Group Plc in February to operate food deliveries in the U.K. and recently invested in non-grocery ventures including automated meal preparation and vertical farming.Another U.K. partner, Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc, agreed to free some of its warehouse capacity to help Ocado after the Andover fire. This will slow revenue growth in its solutions business, given the loss of fees and higher fixed costs, Ocado said. Morrison also loosened its pact with the online grocer in May to strengthen its partnership with rival Amazon.com Inc.To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen Milligan in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Eric Pfanner at email@example.com, Thomas MulierFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
British online supermarket and technology company Ocado reported a 46% fall in first-half core earnings hurt by a fire at its flagship distribution centre but sounded a confident note on the outlook for sales of its warehouse robotics and software. Ocado provides UK and international retailers with the infrastructure and software to develop their own online grocery businesses to compete with the likes of Tesco and Amazon. While Ocado's retail business holds just a 1.3% share of Britain's grocery market, its warehouse technology has powered a 8.3 billion pound ($10.4 billion) stock market valuation.
British tobacco company Imperial Brands Plc will drop its 10% dividend growth target from next year to focus on developing its e-cigarette portfolio and plans to buy back shares worth up to 200 million pounds ($251 million). The company said on Monday it would increase its dividend payouts annually, but through a more progressive dividend policy that would take into account underlying business performance. "Imperial Brands' shares are popular among retail investors for their generous pay-out," Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell said.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s slim pickings in the bond market at the moment. What else can fund managers do but fall into line with their index, close their eyes and buy?A pervasive fear of missing out on even the slightest hint of yield has created an unseemly buying frenzy that has swept across Europe, touching government bonds and making its way down the credit spectrum to high-yielding corporate debt. It's become such a battle for investors to get hold of any form of fixed-income asset that yields on the bonds of France, Belgium, Austria and Sweden at a range of maturities, even beyond 10 years, have turned negative. U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer Group Plc, currently battling to revive earnings and figure out how to get people to buy its clothes, felt the FOMO. On Wednesday its 250 million pound ($314.3 million) eight-year bond was six times oversubscribed, and the spread on offer dropped 35 basis points from initial price talk to pricing. The backdrop to this is an expectation that the European Central Bank will push its deposit rate ever more negative and restart quantitative easing in the autumn to battle the bloc’s worsening economic weakness. Good news for bond returns. But there’s much more to the latest plunge in yields. The fund managers who, all year, had sat on the sidelines in the belief that they could not get any lower are now finding that their performance has fallen behind. Now, they have to catch up, and sharpish. This tectonic shift in fixed income is forcing them to make purchases that in the cold light of day defy logic. Underperforming in a bull market is not a good look. One important law of financial logic – if you lend money for longer, you should see a higher return – has been broken. Long bond yields around the world have dropped below the official overnight rates of central banks. The time value of money has essentially disappeared.The U.S. 30-year bond, for example, yields 2.47%, less than the 2.5% upper bound of the Federal Reserve's benchmark rate. It’s even worse in Europe. As my colleague Dani Burger puts it, the continent has gone beyond Japanification, now that a number of EU countries have a higher percentage of negative-yielding debt. What sort of world is it when the Greek 10-year is within 10 basis points of U.S Treasuries? If you thought 1.17% was crazy for a yield on Austria’s reopening of its 100-year bond, it now yields 1.06%. The evident desire of both the European Commission and the Italian government to avoid a summer row over government spending limits opened the floodgates for investors to pile into the last liquid market with any yield to speak of. The Italian curve has shifted so far down that two-year yields have returned to zero for the first time since the formation of the current populist government in May last year created a fixed-income drama. Fund managers who, with ample justification, had been underweight Italy have had to cave in. The year is half over, and there’s no other way to keep performance from being destroyed other than capitulation against their better judgment. Where does it stop? It doesn’t look like it will anytime soon. The consummate Euro-federalist Christine Lagarde will deliver continuity when she takes over from Mario Draghi as ECB president on Nov. 1. "Whatever it takes" is alive and well.Fund managers have to strap on duration and secure any yield they can while it still sort of exists. Just try not to think about how all those pensions will get paid in the future.To contact the author of this story: Marcus Ashworth at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Ryan at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Marcus Ashworth is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering European markets. He spent three decades in the banking industry, most recently as chief markets strategist at Haitong Securities in London.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
British health and beauty retailer Boots said it plans to close about 200 stores, mainly local pharmacies, over the next 18 months. A raft of British store groups including Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, have announced plans to close shops as they struggle with subdued consumer spending, rising labour costs and business property taxes, and growing online competition. Boots, part of U.S.-listed Walgreens Boots Alliance, said its planned closures would be at locations where it has several others nearby.
British fashion chain New Look reported a bigger annual pretax loss, hurt by a large charge, while Brexit woes and rainy weather kept many shoppers out of its stores. New Look, whose largest shareholder is South African investment firm Brait, reported statutory loss before tax of 522.2 million pounds ($666.4 million) for the year ended March, compared with a loss of 190.2 million pounds a year earlier.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Carrefour SA, Europe's largest retailer, may be the latest Western company to pull back from China. It’s unlikely to be the last.On Monday, the hypermarket operator said it would sell 80% of its China business for 4.8 billion yuan ($699 million) in cash to Suning.com, the Chinese retailer backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Carrefour will retain a 20% stake. Over the past few years, the French company’s plans to shrink its China footprint has been one of the worst-kept secrets in banking. Though Carrefour sold the business pretty cheaply – with a valuation of 0.2 times 2018 sales, compared with the industry average of 0.84, according to Citigroup Inc. – loosening its ties to the mainland may be a smart move, whatever the price. With sales in the country flagging and losses piling up, the deal comes as China’s macroeconomic picture is also darkening.Yet the key challenge for Carrefour preceded the trade war. In recent years, online-only players such as Alibaba have been piling pressure on brick-and-mortar operations, with Tesco Plc, Best Buy Co. and Marks & Spencer Plc each announcing plans to pull back from the mainland market. Carrefour’s share of the country’s hypermarket segment fell to 4.6% last year from 8.2% in 2009, Citi writes.(1) That’s a problem in a country with one of the world’s biggest rates of e-commerce penetration. China's online retail sales reached 3.86 trillion yuan in the first five months of this year, accounting for more than one-fifth of the country's total purchases of consumer goods, according to a recent report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. To make matters worse, foreign brands no longer have the cachet they once enjoyed – at least in low-end consumer goods. In a survey last year, Credit Suisse AG said that Chinese consumers preferred domestic purveyors in categories like food and drinks and home appliances. With the trade war whipping up nationalist fervor, that trend may accelerate: The bank's latest poll of shoppers 18 to 29 years old showed that 41% preferred phones made by Huawei Technologies Co., up from 28%, while interest for Apple Inc.’s products fell to 28% from 40%.For many firms, ceding control to a local partner is probably the best way forward. Carrefour appears to be borrowing a page from the playbook of McDonald’s Corp., which sold 80% of its China business in 2017 to a tie-up between state giant Citic Group Corp. and private equity firm Carlyle Group LP.Or consider Walmart Inc., which sold its e-commerce delivery site to JD.com Inc. in 2016 in exchange for a stake in the Chinese retailer. The U.S. firm now aims to open 40 of its Sam’s Club stores in China by 2020. Costco Wholesale Corp. is also betting on China’s appetite for bulk buying, with plans to open its first bricks-and-mortar store in August. Whether Costco can pull this off without a local partner remains unclear.What is clear is that Carrefour won’t be the last retailer to rethink its China strategy. Germany's Metro AG is also looking to sell its $1.5 billion Chinese business. At a time when Chinese acquisitions overseas have dried up, bankers at least can thank Western firms for managing to drum up some business from the mainland. (1) The bank citesEuromonitor International research.To contact the author of this story: Nisha Gopalan at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Nisha Gopalan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals and banking. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones as an editor and a reporter.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.