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B&M flags higher core earnings, Prudential makes internal CFO appointment

By Josh White

Date: Wednesday 31 May 2023

(Sharecast News) - London open

The FTSE 100 is expected to open 40 points lower on Wednesday, having closed down 1.38% on Tuesday at 7,522.07.
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B&M European Value Retail said it expected current adjusted core earnings to be higher as it posted a fall in annual profits. The company, which owns discount retail stores in the UK and France, said like-for-like sales in Britain were up 8.3% in the first nine weeks of the current fiscal year. Pre-tax profit fell 17% to £436m, as revenue rose 6.6% to £5bn.

Prudential announced the appointment of Ben Bulmer as its new chief financial officer on Wednesday morning, after the resignation of James Turner following a code of conduct investigation. It said Bulmer, currently CFO for insurance and asset management, already had extensive experience within the company, having held various leadership positions in finance since joining in 1997. He would join the group executive committee and report to chief executive Anil Wadhwani, while remaining Hong Kong-based.

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British households on prepayment meters face missing out on up to £130m of support for their energy bills if they fail to redeem government vouchers before they expire in a month's time. Under the energy bills support scheme, which runs until 30 June, all households are entitled to discounts of up to £400 on their bills. - Guardian

Rail services in parts of England have ground to a halt with the first of three train strikes this week taking place as the long-running dispute between the unions and the government over pay, jobs and conditions continues. A 24-hour strike by members of the driver's union Aslef is under way and a further day of industrial action is planned for Saturday, the day of the FA Cup final. - Guardian

The boss of BAE Systems has discussed setting up weapons production inside Ukraine in talks with Volodymyr Zelensky. In a further sign of Britain's central role in arming Ukrainian forces, the FTSE 100 maker of Challenger 2 tanks, artillery pieces and ammunition crucial to the war against Russia held direct talks with the country's president, both sides confirmed on Tuesday evening. As well as manufacturing and repair facilities, Mr Zelensky and BAE chief executive Charles Woodburn discussed setting up a local office in the country. - Telegraph

A fund management company behind a scandal-hit property investment trust that raised £740 million from UK investors has been accused of disguising rent arrears and secretly releasing a developer from refurbishment obligations. Home Reit, which specialises in housing for the homeless, said after hiring corporate investigators that Alvarium Home Reit Advisors, its former manager, had failed to bring several matters to its attention. It said the "lack of transparency" had "hampered the board's ability to assess the medium-term financial strength of its tenant base and the ability of its tenants to pay rent". It also said the manager had provided "inaccurate information" to an outside body, the Good Economy, a consultancy that had been responsible for assessing the trust's social, environmental and economic impact. The consultants were blocked from carrying out physical inspections of properties. - The Times

The construction of new offices in London's West End is consistently outpacing the City for the first time as demand from financial services trails that of other sectors. The volume of space being developed in the Square Mile business district is close to its lowest level in at least eight years, according to research by Deloitte, in contrast with the steady recovery in activity in the West End since the pandemic. - The Times

US close

Wall Street presented a mixed performance on Tuesday on its return from the Memorial Day holiday, as the focus remained on the federal debt ceiling issue.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.15% at 33,042.78, as the S&P 500 finished flat at 4,205.52.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite meanwhile ended the day in positive territory, rising 0.32% to 13,017.43.

Despite Congressional Republicans and the White House striking a deal on the debt ceiling over the weekend, the agreement still needed approval from Congress in the coming days to avert a potential government debt default.

On the currency front, the dollar slipped 0.01% against sterling to trade at 80.55p, while it was unchanged on the yen at JPY 138.79.


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