UK markets have edged back this morning after yesterday’s rally, after some poor single stock updates weighed on the benchmark FTSE 100
, adding to the burden that the Ukraine saga continues to place on investors. Both Sainsbury’s and Asos dragged their sectors lower, with consumer services sent straight to the back of the class.
German ZEW confidence data failed to lift the market either, missing expectations to make the Dax one of the worst performers on the mainland in early deals, and with the rest of the day light on economic data, bulls could do with some good news out of Ukraine to help try and add to yesterday’s gains.
It had to happen sometime, but this morning’s announcement that Sainsbury’s have ended a 9 year run on quarterly sales growth has put the Supermarkets on alert for the 1st Quarter of 2014. Having clearly outperformed its sector for the last 12 months, a 3.1% fall in sales for the 10 weeks to March 15th represents the kind of form that many had warned of from the turn of the year, and has unsurprisingly pulled the sector lower in early trade. Sainsbury’s dipped 0.5% on the release but it is the struggling Morrisons sitting at the bottom of the pack, who are further hampered by the news of a former employee’s arrest over the data theft story that broke last week.
Antofagasta have managed to offset a drop in core profits with a healthy bump in dividend this morning, with their stock trading over 3% higher in early deals. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were $2.7bln, slightly below forecasts of $2.74bln, but an 86.1 cent was far ahead of the most bullish of expectations and has swung investor sentiment to the upside.
ASOS was the big mover of the day, dropping as much as 20% on the open after a drop in sales growth fuelled by adverse currency moves in both Russia and Australia. Revenues increased 26% for the first 2 months of the year, but the firms “rest of the world” division was hit by weakening currencies which hampered overall sales numbers. The move will have been exacerbated by what has been a rampant 12 months prior to today’s move, having more than doubled in the last year. Other retailers with a heavy online presence including newly listed Boohoo and Next have also been pegged back by the release.
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