dropped sharply on the open for the second day in a row, ahead of UK GDP figures that came in shy of annual estimates and US housing data due this afternoon.
UK Quarterly growth was bang on forecasts at 0.7%, but annual equivalents were revised to 2.7% from 2.8% previous, prompting the UK benchmark to edge further into the red by mid-morning.
Bulls will be hoping that the US session can provide the same lift as it did yesterday, but with the stand out number of US home sales tipped to show a third consecutive month in January, that could well be more in hope than expectation.
Heritage Oil stock surged over 16% on the open after an update on its OML 30 Nigerian project. Production is up 17% on the last quarter of 2014, averaging 15600 barrels per day, and the firm remains confident of further increases in production throughout 2014. The progress will represent significant revenue and cash flow boosts to the firm which allowed CEO Tony Buckingham to tip steady investor returns as well as continued investment in strengthening their foothold in Nigeria and other core regions.
Direct line reported pre-tax profits of £423.9 for 2013, up 70% year on year despite the harsh weather and severe flooding seen throughout the UK this winter. Preliminary estimates for major weather event claims are £70-90m compared to an average of £80m, which is remarkable given recent headlines, although accurate numbers will only surface once the flood waters have retreated. For now, the stock has enjoyed a bit of a relief rally this morning up just over 1% on the update.
Greggs stock has rolled over this morning after reporting a 19% dive in annual profits, and have conceded that conditions will “remain challenging” throughout 2014. Greggs have been in transition since the middle of last year, re-focusing on its bread and butter “food on the go” business and abandoning plans to build café’s and supply third parties.
Segro stock also headed lower despite returning to a full year profit, helped by a reshaping of their property portfolio that has yielded gains of £97m for the year. The move is likely fuelled by a touch of profit taking given recent performance, with Segro having been a one way ticket in 2013. In spite of today’s drop investors still see their stock near 40% higher in the last year.
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