Equity markets in Europe are higher as the positive move in Asia overnight has rubbed-off on European sentiment.
Firmer property prices in China combined with continued optimism surrounding the US-China trade talks drove Chinese stocks higher. The bullish sentiment spilled over to Europe, and the FTSE 100 is posting modest gains, while the DAX and CAC 40 have racked up new six month highs.
JD Sports shares are in demand after the company posted a 26.8% rise in full-year earnings to £488.4 million – a record high, and revenue jumped by 49.2% to £4.71 billion. The group confirmed that total like-for-like sales jumped by more than 6%. The sports fashion division accounts for nearly 87% of group revenue, and the division registered gross margin of 49.2%, and the outdoor unit accounts for over 13% of sales, and the gross margin was 43.5%. The dividend was nudged higher to 1.44p from 1.37p, and even though it isn’t a huge pay-out, at least it is increasing. The firm is the standout performer of the retail sector, and the stock hit another record-high yesterday.
Galliford Try shares sold-off sharply this morning after the company issued a profit warning. The company anticipates that full-year earnings will be between £30 million and £40 million below previous forecasts. Galliford are conducting a review of the business and they intend to trim the size of the construction unit, and focus on their ‘key strengths’, and devote resources to areas that it has a track record of profitability.
Hays announced solid set of third-quarter figures as net fees for the three months period increased by 6% on a like-for-like (LFL) basis. Germany is the group’s largest market, and the division was the best performer, as LFL net fees increased by 6%, while the UK and Ireland unit, along with the Australia and New Zealand operation both posted a 3% rise in revenue on a LFL basis.
GBP/USD had a muted reaction to the solid jobs data from the UK today. Unemployment held steady at 3.9%, meeting forecasts, and average earnings excluding bonuses grew by 3.4%, meeting expectations, and the January report was revised up to 3.5%. Today’s figures were further proof that the UK jobs market is in good health.
EUR/USD was slightly in the red this morning, but it is now flat on the day after the German ZEW report edged up to 3.1 in April – 13 month high.
Netflix will be in focus today as the streaming company will release its first-quarter results after the closing bell. The firm is still the dominant player in its sector despite Apple’s new streaming service, and Disney will be launching its own service towards the back end of the year. As always, traders will be keeping an eye on the new subscriber rate, in particular, the growth rate outside North America.
We are expecting the Dow Jones to open 86 points higher at 26,470 and we are calling the S&P 500 up 10 points at 2,915.
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