Become a Member
  • Track your favourite stocks
  • Create & monitor portfolios
  • Daily portfolio value
Sign Up
Quickpicks
Add shares to your
quickpicks to
display them here!

LONDON BRIEFING: BT names Kirkby as new CEO; Pearson profit up

31st Jul 2023 07:48

(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are called to start the week on the back foot, after new data showed that the Chinese manufacturing sector continued to slump in July.

China announced fresh measures Monday to boost consumption, providing further support to markets, after the government on Friday unveiled a number of initiatives for light industry.

Meanwhile, a fresh round of figures showed the country's manufacturing activity continued to shrink in July, albeit at a slightly slower pace than last month.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers' index – a key measure of factory output – came in at 49.3, below the 50-point mark that separates expansion and contraction, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

July's reading was slightly higher than June's 49.0 figure and was better than forecasts in a Bloomberg survey.

In corporate news, BT named Allison Kirkby as its new boss. Bank of Ireland said that its interim profit has surged to over EUR1 billion.

Here is what you need to know at the London market open:

----------

MARKETS

----------

FTSE 100: called down 0.3% at 7,670.2

----------

Hang Seng: up 1.5% at 20,207.29

Nikkei 225: closed up 1.3% at 33,172.22

S&P/ASX 200: closed up 0.1% at 7,410.40

----------

DJIA: closed up 176.57, or 0.5%, at 35,459.29

S&P 500: closed up 44.82 points, 1.0%, at 4,582.33

Nasdaq Composite: closed up 266.55 points, 1.9% at 14,316.66.

----------

EUR: down at USD1.1012 (USD1.1030)

GBP: down at USD1.2854 (USD1.2861)

USD: up at JPY141.81 (JPY140.53)

Gold: down at USD1,954.29 per ounce (USD1,962.33)

(Brent): up at USD83.99 a barrel (USD83.67)

(changes since previous London equities close)

----------

ECONOMICS

----------

Monday's key economic events still to come:

11:00 CEST EU CPI

11:00 CEST EU GDP

09:30 BST UK money and credit

09:30 BST UK monetary and financial statistics

09:30 BST UK effective interest rates -June 2023

09:45 EDT US ISM-Chicago business survey

----------

UK government backing for new oil and gas licences in the North Sea could be confirmed by Rishi Sunak during a visit to Scotland. The prime minister is expected in Aberdeenshire on Monday, where he will reportedly announce millions of pounds in funding for the Acorn carbon capture project, a joint venture between Shell UK and other companies. According to the Sunday Times, he will also confirm plans to issue new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. Downing Street said that Sunak would use the trip to describe Scotland as the "cornerstone" of the government's energy security plans. Number 10 also signalled that the PM would be expected to highlight efforts to "boost the capability" of the North Sea industry in the transition to net zero. Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps will also meet top figures from the oil and gas, renewable and nuclear industries over the course of the week amid a Government focus on the issue.

----------

BROKER RATING CHANGES

----------

Goldman raises Standard Chartered price target to 1,020 (980) pence - 'neutral'

----------

RBC cuts Fresnillo price target to 690 (790) pence - 'sector perform'

----------

RBC raises Frasers Group price target to 900 (850) pence - 'sector perform'

----------

COMPANIES - FTSE 100

----------

Education publisher Pearson said that pretax profit in the six months ended June 30 rose to GBP236 million from GP185 million a year earlier. Sales climbed to GBP1.88 billion from GBP1.79 billion. It said that this reflects underlying performance, portfolio changes and currency movements. On the back of the results, Pearson proposed an interim dividend of 7.0p per share, versus 6.6p year-on-year. Looking ahead, the company said that it is confident in achieving 2023 expectations. Chief Executive Andy Bird said: "Our excellent performance in the first half of 2023 means we are confident of achieving our full year expectations. We have continued to execute well operationally and maintained a sharp focus on delivering efficiencies whilst positioning our portfolio for long-term growth."

----------

BT Group named Allison Kirkby as its new chief executive officer. She will take over from Philip Jansen as CEO around the end of January 2024 at the latest. Kirkby has been CEO of Telia since early 2020. Telia, headquartered in Sweden, is the "market leading digital communications and telecommunications provider to 25 million customers across the Nordic and Baltic region." She has also been a non-executive director at BT Group since 2019. Chair Adam Crozier said: "The board is delighted to have appointed Allison as our new chief executive. She is a proven leader, with deep sector experience and a history of having transformed businesses."

----------

COMPANIES - FTSE 250

----------

Marshalls said it expects to report revenue for the six months ended June 30 of GBP354 million, down from GBP348 million a year earlier. The West Yorkshire-based natural stone and concrete manufacturer said adjusted pretax profit for the half year is expected to be around GBP33 million, down from GBP45 million. It said that this result has been delivered against the backdrop of challenging market conditions with persistent weakness in new build housing and private housing repair, maintenance & improvement, which are key end markets for the company. Looking ahead, Marshalls said that it expects the company's performance in the second half will be below its previous expectations, due to sustained high levels of inflation, increasing interest rates and weak consumer confidence. It also said that it is cutting 250 roles, in order to generate savings of about GBP9 million.

----------

Components and systems manufacturer Senior said that revenue in the first half of 2023 role by 20% to GBP482.3 million from GBP402.2 million a year earlier. Pretax profit jumped 22% to GBP13.5 million from GBP11.1 million. On the back of the results, Senior doubled its interim dividend to 0.60p from 0.30p a year ago. Looking ahead, Senior said that it maintains its outlook, with "strong growth" anticipated for the full year. "Senior is on a strong trajectory with good growth across our two divisions and profits doubling year-on-year. This year-on-year increase reflected the strong momentum in our core markets and our positioning on key growth platforms across both Flexonics and Aerospace," CEO David Squires said.

----------

OTHER COMPANIES

----------

Bank of Ireland reported EUR1.03 billion pretax profit in the first half of 2023, up from EUR351 million previously. The Dublin-based bank said operating income rose to EUR2.20 billion from EUR1.37 billion. Net interest income rose to EUR1.80 billion from EUR1.07 billion. Looking ahead, Bank of Ireland expects second half net interest income to be modestly higher than in the first half. CEO Myles O'Grady said: "These results are underpinned by the strategic decisions and investments we've made in recent years, supported by a resilient economy and a favourable rate environment. We are mindful of the challenges posed by the inflationary environment and are supporting our customers as they navigate them."

----------

By Sophie Rose, Alliance News reporter

Comments and questions to [email protected]

Copyright 2023 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

FTSE 100 Latest
Value8,204.89
Change17.43