Banks, Financial

Banking app targets millennials who want help budgeting

Graduate debt, rent and high living costs have made it hard for millennials to save for a house, a pension or even a holiday. For Ollie Purdue, a 23-year-old law graduate, this was reason enough to launch Loot, a banking app targeted at tech-dependent 20-somethings who want help to manage their money and avoid falling […]

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Eurozone inflation climbs to highest since April 2014

A welcome dose of good news before next week’s big European Central Bank meeting. Year on year inflation in the eurozone has climbed to its best rate since April 2014 this month, accelerating to 0.6 per cent from 0.5 per cent on the back of the rising cost of services and the fading effect of […]

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Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin hit by restructuring costs

Profits at wealth manager Brewin Dolphin were hit by restructuring costs as the company continued to shift its focus towards portfolio management. The FTSE 250 company reported pre-tax profits of £50.1m in the year to September 30, down 17.9 per cent from £61m the previous year. Finance director Andrew Westenberger said its 2015 figure was […]

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Travis Perkins and Polymetal to lose out in FTSE 100 reshuffle

Builders’ merchant Travis Perkins and mining company Polymetal face relegation from the FTSE 100 after their recent performances were hit by political events. The share price of Travis Perkins has dropped 29 per cent since the UK voted to leave the EU in June, as economic uncertainty has sparked concerns among some investors about the […]

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RBS share drop accelerates on stress test flop

Stressed. Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland have accelerated their losses this morning, falling over 4.5 per cent after the state-backed lender came in bottom of the heap in the Bank of England’s latest stress tests. RBS failed the toughest ever stress tests carried out by the BoE, with results this morning showing the lender’s […]

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Categorized | Equities

AB Foods advances on Primark hopes

Posted on October 31, 2013

What next for Primark? Owner AB Foods hit a record high on Thursday, up 2 per cent to £22.67, ahead of annual results on Tuesday.

The stock surged 20 per cent in October on optimism about the global expansion of its Primark chain, which has revived talk of a potential break-up.

    Analysts expect Primark to overtake sugar as AB’s biggest profit contributor, providing nearly half of group earnings for the year.

    And with sugar likely to remain in decline ahead of an EU quota change in 2017, speculation has been building that a standalone Primark might be better equipped to accelerate growth.

    The US offered one likely avenue for expansion, analysts said, with Westfield the most likely partner.

    The success of Primark’s Stratford store in east London was “paving the way for [a] potential global collaboration”, Morgan Stanley said.

    The wider market stuttered, with the FTSE 100 down 0.7 per cent, or 46.27 points, to 6,731.43.

    Marks & Spencer was the day’s main talking point after William Adderley, the former boss of soft furnishings specialist Dunelm Group, revealed a maiden 3 per cent stake worth about £240m.

    Ahead of results on Tuesday, M&S jumped 2.1 per cent to 503.5p.

    Much weaker than expected results gave Royal Dutch Shell its biggest fall in two years with its B shares falling 5.2 per cent to £21.60.

    High exploration expenses and weak refining margins combined with myriad operational problems to cut year-end earnings forecasts by about 6 per cent.

    By contrast, BG Group was up 2.2 per cent to £12.74 after its results beat forecasts in spite of UK maintenance work and turmoil in Egypt.

    Chemical maker Croda dropped 7.6 per cent to £24.36 after delivering quarterly earnings that missed consensus forecasts and tempering guidance for the rest of the year. Subdued end markets took the blame.

    Rentokil Initial sunk 6.8 per cent to 104.5p after its biggest shareholder Invesco Perpetual sold an 11 per cent stake.

    The news intensified speculation that Invesco would have to liquidate more UK investments after star fund manager Neil Woodford said he was leaving the group.

    Capita edged down 0.1 per cent to 986p and Drax fell 3.7 per cent to 636p.

    Among the gainers, Reckitt Benckiser took on 1.2 per cent to £48.48 on a reheat of speculation that its pharmaceuticals division was attracting interest from drugmakers including Shire, down 0.4 per cent to £27.51.

    BWin edged up 0.3 per cent to 122.8p after its founder shareholders agreed to sell their combined 14.3 per cent stake to help the gaming group’s application for a licence to operate in New Jersey.

    The pair, who are divorcing, put their stock into a trust to submit individual licence applications to the gambling regulator.

    Ashtead drifted 1.1 per cent to 655p in spite of Redburn Partners starting coverage with a “buy”.

    Data warehouse operator Telecity dropped on news its long-serving finance director was stepping down in January. Ahead of a trading update due on Monday, the stock dropped 3.5 per cent to 762.5p.

    In August, Telecity said it had misstated key operational metrics for 2012 and half of 2013.

    The group has also faced claims of underinvestment, with Merrill estimating that the group employs half the number of sales and marketing staff as rival Equinix Europe in spite of similar revenues.