UK market update – Retail sales unexpectedly drop, Morrisons accepts CDR bid

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imageStock Markets4 hours ago (Aug 20, 2021 08:31)

© Reuters.

By Samuel Indyk

Investing.com – At 08:28BST, the FTSE 100 is trading lower by 0.1% at 7,050. The midcap FTSE 250 is trading higher by 0.1% at 23,628.

In FX markets, GBP/USD is trading at 1.3610, EUR/GBP is trading at 0.8581. The US Dollar Index is flat.

Today’s data calendar looks light, with the highlight being Canadian retail sales and a speech by the Federal Reserve’s Robert Kaplan.

Data

Retail sales unexpectedly declined 2.5% MoM in July versus expectations of a 0.4% increase. The ONS said food sales fell back as further lifting of hospitality restrictions meant consumers had more opportunities to spend outside retail, while heavy rainfall hit fuel sales.

Public sector net borrowing ex-banks was second highest July borrowing since records began but still £10.3 billion less than July 2020.

Stocks

Morrisons (LON:MRW) – Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CDR) makes improved 285 pence per share offer for Morrisons. Morrisons has agreed to the raised offer from CDR. Fortress, which had previously agreed to purchase Morrisons, said it is considering its options.

Marks and Spencer (LON:MKS) – Food revenue increased 10.8% YoY in 19 weeks to 14th August. Clothing & Home revenue up 92.2% on last year and down just 2.6% on 2019 levels. Assuming no further Covid-related disruptions, expects adjusted profit before tax to be above the upper end of previous guidance of £300-350 million.

AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) (NASDAQ:AZN) – Alexion (NASDAQ:ALXN) is discontinuing its CHAMPION-ALS Phase III trial of Ultomiris in adults with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, due to lack of efficacy. Separately, AstraZeneca’s AZD7442 PROVENT Phase III prophylaxis trial met primary endpoint in preventing COVID-19.

Vertu Motors (LON:VTU) – Continuing to experience strong use vehicle gross margin retention and expects to deliver profit before tax of no less than £50 million in 6-months to 31st August 2021. Upgrading the estimate for profit before tax for the current financial year to be in the range of £50-55 million (previously £40-45 million). Board intends to reinstate dividend and to buy back up to £3.0 million of shares.

Cineworld Group (LON:CINE) – UK cinema box office takings in the month since all Covid restrictions were lifted in England were half of their pre-pandemic level, according to Comscore.

UK market update – Retail sales unexpectedly drop, Morrisons accepts CDR bid

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