City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open up 14 points from yesterday's close of 5,491, with investors keeping a close watch on the situation in Spain as the country auctions off its debt later in the morning. The yield on Spanish 10-year bonds has climbed above the key marker of 7.0%, the level which is taken to indicate that a country's expenditure is too great for it to afford in the long term.
Stocks to watch
The Whitbread bandwagon rolls on with the Premier Inn and Costa Coffee owner reporting forecast-busting like-for-like (LFL) sales growth in its first quarter. Total sales in the 13 weeks to May 31st were up 13.9% on the corresponding period of 2011, with LFL sales up 4.5%. Broker Jefferies had gone for LFL sales growth for the group of 3.0%. The Premier Inn division's LFL sales were 4.3% higher than a year earlier, with LFL revenue per available room (revPAR) up 3.0%. LFL revPAR grew by 7.3% in London and 2.2% in the regions.
Property firm Hammerson is set to off-load most of its London office space as it pushes forward with plans to focus solely on retail space. The company has exchanged contracts on the majority of its office portfolio with Brookfield Office Properties for £518m. The six assets on the block represent 75% of Hammerson's London offices and the sale price was 5.0% above proforma book value and represented a 5.2% initial yield, it said.
Chip designer Imagination Technologies saw notable increases in both royalty and licensing revenues last year, while profits came in ahead of expectations. Group revenue rose 30% to £127.5m in the year to April 30th from £98.0m the year before, with royalty revenue up 55% and licensing revenue 21% higher. Adjusted profit before tax jumped 53% to £36.8m from £24.0m, comfortably ahead of the £31.4m predicted by the market.
Stocks bounced back further on Friday as traders opted to hold their fire ahead of next week's policy meeting at the US Federal Reserve. Nevertheless, there is still some uncertainty as to just how dangerous the present correction in equities really is, even if shares have reached clearly 'oversold' levels. [Fri 16:16]
A calmer session on financial markets prompted decent gains in the mining and property sectors on Friday, as bargain-hunters moved in to 'buy on the dip' after the recent volatility hit both sectors hard. [Fri 14:25]
FTSE 100-listed retail property developer Hammerson has announced a tender offer as part of its policy to manage its balance sheet liabilities and optimise its debt structure by utilising its substantial liquidity to manage near term debt maturities and achieve a lower running cost of debt. [16 May '13]
FTSE 100 retail property developer Hammerson yesterday delivered a mixed trading update. However, the company does seem to have a good long-term strategy in place, of exiting the London office market in favour of local retail space, which - it must be said - goes against current received wisdom. To that one must add the strong pipeline of assets coming along. In fact, the company is forecasting earnings growth of 25% over the next three years. Nevertheless, the fact that it i [10 May '13]
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