Tuesday, 23 September 2014

More relief than euphoria for UK markets after Scots vote No

The troubled mobile phone store owner Phones4U entered administration after EE joined Vodafone and O2 in cancelling their contracts to supply the embattled high street chain.  Vodafone share price rose after reports emerged that it and EE were looking at buying sections of Phones4U.

ASOS issued their third profit warning in less than a year, sending its share price tumbling.  There was contagion in the sector, with other retailers, including JD Sports & Next firmly down.

Crawley based TUI Travel was of interest as talk of cash returns in the wake of the £5.2bn merger with its German parent sent the tourism business flying to the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard.  easyJet performed better after announcing that it would also pay back some cash to shareholders. The British airline, now the largest by number of passengers carried, has reached an agreement with Airbus to exercise existing purchase rights over 27 current generation A320 aircraft for delivery between 2015 and 2018. These aircraft are more efficient than the current model used and should lead to cost savings. This will mean easyJet will have a 35% larger fleet by 2019.

Weakness in resources stocks helped to dampen excitement over Scotland's No vote. Companies seeing the majority of the relief rally gains were RBS, Lloyds, Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management, whereas mining companies were hit by further falls in commodities prices and concern of an earlier than expected US interest rate rise.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba priced its shares at $68 in the run up to the largest ever initial public offering (IPO).  Overwhelming demand saw the IPO initially raise $21.8 billion and then sent Alibaba's stock surging 38% in its debut last Friday.

Finally Tesco has lowered its forecast for first-half profit by £250m, its third warning this year, after finding a fault in its accounts, in the latest blow to the reputation of Britain's biggest grocer.

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