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LONDON BRIEFING: Land Securities ups dividend; GSK sells Haleon stake

17th May 2024 07:42

(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are called to open lower, as investors wait for an inflation reading from the eurozone later this morning.

Friday's economic calendar has a eurozone inflation reading at 1000 BST.

In early corporate news, GSK said it has sold its remaining stake in Haleon for GBP1.25 billion. Land Securities announced its annual results, alongside a higher dividend.

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

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MARKETS

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FTSE 100: called down 0.2% at 8,423.60

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Hang Seng: up 0.5% at 19,471.16

Nikkei 225: closed down 0.3% at 38,787.38

S&P/ASX 200: closed down 0.9% at 7,814.40

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DJIA: closed down 38.62 points, 0.1%, at 39,869.38

S&P 500: closed down 11.05 points, 0.2%, at 5,297.10

Nasdaq Composite: closed down 44.07 points, 0.3% at 16,698.32

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EUR: down at USD1.0864 (USD1.0870)

GBP: down at USD1.2664 (USD1.2671)

USD: up at JPY155.72 (JPY155.26)

Gold: up at USD2,383.90 per ounce (USD2,381.33)

(Brent): up at USD83.74 a barrel (USD83.05)

(changes since previous London equities close)

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ECONOMICS

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Friday's key economic events still to come:

11:00 CEST eurozone CPI

09:20 CEST eurozone European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos speaks

07:30 CEST France unemployment

08:30 CEST Switzerland industrial production

09:00 BST UK Bank of England MPC member Catherine Mann speaks

10:15 EDT US Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller speaks

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The cost-of-living shock has turned the UK from a nation of spenders into savers, according to a think tank. The "tumultuous period of price change" has changed what households do with their money, with consumption being cut by more than the fall in incomes, the Resolution Foundation said. Official data released next week looks set to show inflation returning to close to the 2% target, drawing a line under a three-year inflation spike that has left households spending less and saving more, the Foundation said. With consumer price index inflation for April expected to fall within touching distance of the Bank of England's 2% target, the Foundation looked at how the inflation squeeze has affected living standards, spending behaviour and finances.

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BROKER RATING CHANGES

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Berenberg starts Porvair with 'buy' - price target 800 pence

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COMPANIES - FTSE 100

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Land Securities reported that revenue rose to GBP824 million in the year ended March 31, up from GBP791 million a year earlier. Pretax loss in the year narrowed to GBP341 million from GBP622 million. Land Securities announces a higher total dividend of 39.6p, up 2.6% from 38.6p. "Our continued operational outperformance, with rising occupancy and positive rental uplifts in retail and London, is driving robust like-for-like rental income growth and demonstrates the importance of owning and operating the best-in-class real estate," said Chief Executive Mark Allan.

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GSK said it has sold its remaining stake in Haleon, the consumer healthcare firm it spun out almost two years ago. Brentford, London-based GSK said it has sold its 4.2% stake, around 385 million shares, in Surrey-based Haleon, the owner of brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste, which spun off from GSK in July 2022. It said it has sold the shares at a price of 324 pence each, raising GBP1.25 billion in total. "Following settlement of the placing, GSK will have fully exited its position and will no longer hold any ordinary shares in Haleon," GSK added.

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Unilever said it has begun its share buyback, to purchase up to EUR1.5 million shares. It said that the first tranche will be for up to 850 million shares, and will end on or before August 30. The buyback was announced back in February, alongside the company's financial results.

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COMPANIES - FTSE 250

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Tritax Big Box REIT said that it will issue 576.9 million new shares on Friday, following its merger with UK Commercial Property. "Following very strong support from both sets of shareholders, we are pleased to announce the completion of the acquisition of UKCM and are delighted to welcome our new shareholders to BBOX," CEO Colin Godfrey said. The all share merger was announced back in February, with plans to create the UK's fourth largest real estate investment trust by market capitalisation, at nearly GBP4 billion. Tritax also said that it has seen "an encouraging uptick in levels of activity in our development pipeline."

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OTHER COMPANIES

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FRP Advisory said it has "achieved another year of strong profitable growth." It said it expects to report revenue of GBP128 million in the year ended April 30, up 23% annually from GBP104 million. Ebitda is expected to rise 37% on-year to GBP37 million from GBP27 million. FRP noted that both results exceed current market consensus. Looking ahead, CEO Geoff Rowley said: "Activity levels across all our locations and pillars are encouraging. As a result, we start our new financial year with confidence of making further positive progress."

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By Sophie Rose, Alliance News senior reporter

Comments and questions to [email protected]

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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