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LONDON BRIEFING: Stocks expected to start week up slightly amid PMIs

5th Feb 2024 07:42

(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are set to open slightly higher on Monday, ahead of a slew of purchasing managers' index readings.

Already on Monday, investors have had PMI data from China and Japan to digest. Still to come, there is data from the eurozone, the UK, and the US.

In early corporate news, Vodafone said revenue edged lower in its third quarter. Meanwhile, CMC Markets plans to cut 200 jobs.

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




FTSE 100: called up 0.1% at 7.625.40


Hang Seng: up 0.1% at 15,516.66

Nikkei 225: closed up 0.5% at 36,354.16

S&P/ASX 200: closed down 1.0% at 7,625.90


DJIA: closed up 134.58 points, 0.4%, at 38,654.42

S&P 500: closed up 52.42 points, 1.1%, at 4,958.61

Nasdaq Composite: closed up 267.31 points, 1.7%, to 15,628.95


EUR: down at USD1.0778 (USD1.0793)

GBP: down at USD1.2610 (USD1.2639)

USD: down at JPY148.33 (JPY148.35)

Gold: down at USD2,030.55 per ounce (USD2,034.63)

(Brent): up at USD77.58 a barrel (USD77.09)

(changes since previous London equities close)




Monday's key economic events still to come:

09:30 EST Canada composite PMI

10:00 CET eurozone composite PMI

11:00 CET eurozone PPI

09:50 CET France composite PMI

09:55 CET Germany composite PMI

09:45 CET Italy composite PMI

09:15 CET Spain composite PMI

11:00 CET Spain consumer confidence

09:00 GMT UK new car registrations

09:30 GMT UK composite PMI

09:45 EST US S&P Global composite PMI

10:00 EST US ISM services PMI


Rishi Sunak has admitted that he has failed on his pledge to cut NHS waiting lists. The UK prime minister last year made cutting the number of patients waiting for treatment one of the five key priorities of his leadership. While he did not put a timeframe on achieving it, he has conceded that he has not met his target. The Conservative Party leader told TalkTV that industrial action in the health sector "has had an impact" on delivering the commitment. Asked about the NHS commitment during an interview with Piers Morgan in Downing Street, Sunak said: "We have not made enough progress."


Sunak and Irish premier Leo Varadkar are to visit Stormont as they mark the return of devolved government in Northern Ireland. Sunak and Varadkar will meet each other, as well as the leaders of the new power-sharing executive which was formed on Saturday, ending two years of political stalemate. The newly-formed executive has already written to the prime minister calling for urgent discussions on long-term funding stability to deliver public services. The executive, headed by Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill and the DUP's Emma Little-Pengelly, will also hold its first meeting on Monday as it begins the task of trying to deal with Northern Ireland's strained finances.




Morgan Stanley raises Land Securities to 'overweight' (equal-weight) - price target 730 (650) pence


UBS raises Informa to 'buy' (neutral) - price target 933 (800) pence


Jefferies raises National Grid to 'buy' (hold) - price target 1,330 (1,000) pence




Vodafone said that in its third quarter total revenue fell 2.3% to EUR11.37 billion from EUR11.64 billion a year earlier. Service revenue fell to EUR9.38 billion from EUR9.52 billion. Looking ahead, Vodafone reiterated its financial 2024 guidance. Its financial year runs to March 31. "We maintained good service revenue momentum in the third quarter across both Europe and Africa, supported by a further acceleration of Vodafone Business, with our Cloud and Internet of Things services growing over 20%," Chief Executive Margherita Della Valle said. "We've made good strategic progress in the first nine months of the year, with improving customer satisfaction and three consecutive quarters of service revenue growth in Europe. Our announced transactions in the UK and Spain are progressing well, and we are in active discussions in Italy."




HgCapital Trust updated shareholders on its 2023 performance, through a trading update. HgT's unaudited estimated net asset value at the end of 2023 was GBP2.3 billion, which represents an estimated NAV per share of 498.6 pence. "This growth was predominantly driven by strong trading performance in the underlying portfolio," the company said. It also noted a total estimated NAV return per share, on a total return basis, of 10.7%. HgT will report its full year results for 2023 on March 11.


SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust said that Cokenergy, a project within its Primary Energy portfolio, has renewed its long term contract with Cleveland Cliffs at the Indiana Harbor Works East steel mill in the US. "The contract provides for the onsite supply of steam and electricity which is generated by Primary Energy's facility from waste heat from the onsite coke ovens," it said. SDCL also provides a trading update. The company said operational cashflows in the final quarter to 2023 have remained in line with its expectations. It also said portfolio disposals remain a "priority" and it has now received a number of credible proposals. "Whilst there can be no certainty that these proposals will result in a sale, the investment manager is focused on progressing these processes expediently and will provide further updates in due course," SDCL added.




CMC Markets said it plans to cut around 200 jobs, around 17% of its existing headcount, following a cost review which was announced in November last year. CMC said it is expected to incur a one-off, non-recurring cost of about GBP2.5 million in financial 2024 with estimated annualised savings of GBP21 million to be realised in financial 2025, representing an 18% reduction against consensus staff costs. "Cost reductions have been primarily achieved by merging support functions across multiple business lines, streamlining reporting lines and automating processes. The group will continue to seek opportunities to drive efficiencies and control costs while remaining committed to investing in growth opportunities and ensuring its technology remains market leading," CMC said. Looking ahead, the company said that trading remains in line with expectations.


By Sophie Rose, Alliance News senior reporter

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