Morning Market Pulse - You've been Interserved!


Mike van Dulken and Artjom Hatsaturjants at Accendo Markets, commented to clients this morning:


FTSE 100 called to open -15pts at 7160, resistance from November highs halting the recent 450pt/6.7% rally (o/w 2% yesterday) from last week’s 6730 lows. Bulls need a break above 7185 to extend the uptrend, although further resistance may lurk at 7215. Bears require a breach of 7140 for a retrace of some of the recent gains. Watch levels: Bullish 7185, Bearish 7140


Calls for a mildly negative open come as the FTSE pulls back from a 2% Tuesday rally and in spite of strong trading on Wall St. Better-than-expected US earnings (Disney, Estee Lauder) continued to prop up US markets, helping USD trade 2-week highs, although GBP is flat.


Japan is the lone underperformer (much of Asia closed for New Year) after Toyota reported falling Q3 profits and cut guidance. Oil prices are on the back foot following a bearish US API inventory report last night (+2.5m build vs. +2.1m est.)


Company news this morning Banks may be sensitive to BNP Paribas cutting its 2020 targets for revenues (+1.5% annually vs +2.5% prev.) and profitability after trading income fell 40% in Q4. It now expects a lower 2020 Return on Equity and higher cost-income ratio.


Barratt Developments H1 completions +4.1% YoY, revenue +7.2%, pre-tax profit +19.1%, Interim dividend +11.6%, Net cash +133.7%, Forward Sales +7.3% but Reservations down 3-5%. Trading in-line, guidance unchanged. Plans £175m special dividends in Nov ‘19 and Nov ‘20. Average sale price flat, with higher London prices offsetting 1.8% lower regional ASP.


Redrow H1 completions +12% YoY, revenue +9%, pre-tax profit +5% (in-line with consensus), interim dividend +11%, order book +11%. Gross margin -50bps to 24% (in-line). Christmas-to-early-Jan trading subdued, but recovered in past 3 weeks. FY guidance reiterated.


CYBG Q1 in-line; Customer Lending +1.4% (Mortgages +1.5%, net SME +1.2%), Deposits +0.2%; NIM 172bp down vs 2018 on mortgage pricing pressure, but improves FY guidance to upper end of range; integrating Virgin Money well, expects min £150m annual synergies vs £120m prev. Comfortable with PPI provisioning.


Interserve received letter from 5% shareholder, requesting general meeting to remove full board (incl. Chairman, CFO) with exception of CEO White. Board agreed to deleveraging plan to reduce debt to £275m by issuing £480m in equity (97.5% dilution of capital). Apollo agrees with RPC pension scheme to mitigate acquisition effects, providing extra £5.2m/year contributions for 5 years and nine months, and £25m security (reducing to £12m in Sept 2024).


Victrex Q1 revenue -18% YoY, volumes -22% after headwinds in Automotive and Consumer Electronics. Quarter weaker than anticipated and, in spite of Jan-Feb improvements, H1 is expected much weaker overall. H2 guidance unchanged due to new projects and reduced headwinds.


Electrocomponents 4-month like-for-like revenue +6% YoY (EMEA +7%, Americas +7%, APAC +2%). FY guidance for “stable” gross margin unchanged and on track to deliver £4m in FY savings. Grainger good start to financial year; £1.3bn portfolio well ahead of 2016 targets, 3.4% like-for-like rental growth, occupancy 97.5%; pricing stead and volumes slowed, but reiterates guidance.


Just Group FY new business sales +15% YoY, o/w retirement +15% (Defined Benefit +32%, Guaranteed Income for Life -4%) and Lifetime Mortgages +18%. Expects another strong year for Defined Benefit but Guaranteed Income for Life volumes slowed in Q4


Severn Trent says no material change to business performance or outlook since H1 presentation. Ibstock says CFO Kevin Sims to retire in 2019 after 3 years in the role and 30 years with the group, succeeded by Chris McLeish, Group VP France and Control at Tate & Lyle. Unilever acquires the holding company of UK healthy snacks brand Graze.


In focus today will be the US Trade Deficit (1:30pm), expected wider at $55.5bn, with US exports flat, while imports grow, as the US-China trade truce drags into its third month. Meanwhile, US Q4 Unit Labour Costs will likely show an acceleration to 1.7% vs. the previous quarter, while Non-farm Productivity slows to 1.7% QoQ (vs Q3 2.3%). Oil may moves after EIA inventories (3.30pm).


Speakers include Fed Chair Powell (12am, voter, centrist) who hosts a town hall meeting with educators and students from across the US, with an audience and online Q&A. The Fed’s Quarles (11:05pm, voter, centrist) speaks about Bank stress tests, with a moderated Q&A.


US quarterly reports are scheduled from General Motors and Fiat Chrysler which may have read-across for German automakers and the DAX Index

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