Register for Digital Look

Greggs maintains guidance, Ashtead flags lower-end revenues

By Josh White

Date: Tuesday 05 Mar 2024

(Sharecast News) - London open

The FTSE 100 is expected to open 34 points lower on Tuesday, having closed down 0.55% on Monday at 7,640.33.

Stocks to watch

High Street bakery chain Greggs maintained guidance and said it had made a strong start to the current year after delivering a jump in 2023 profits as customers sought out its sausage rolls and doughnuts amid the cost of living crisis. Shareholders were also rewarded with a special 40p-a-share dividend on top of the 62p full-year payout. Like-for-like sales in company-managed shops were up 8.2% in the first nine weeks of the year. Pre-tax profit for the year to December came in at £188.3m from £148.3m a year earlier, with total sales rising to £1.8bn from £1.51bn.

Equipment rental firm Ashtead has said that full-year group revenues will expand at the low end of its guidance as a result of the previously disclosed slowdown in North America. The company, which provides everything from emergency response equipment to cameras and lighting for the film industry, said revenues for the 12 months to 30 April are now forecast to grow at the bottom end of the 11% to 13% target range. Ashtead has seen lower levels of emergency response activity related to natural disasters in the US following strong hurricane, wildfire and winter storm related revenue last year, while longer-than-anticipated actors' and writers' strikes dented demand in Canada.

GSK announced on Tuesday that its specialist HIV subsidiary ViiV Healthcare had seen positive results from a study showing that cabotegravir ultra long-acting (CAB-ULA), an investigational formulation, could be dosed at intervals of at least four months, marking progress towards ultra-long-acting injectable HIV treatment and prevention. The FTSE 100 pharmaceuticals giant said the study showed favourable safety and pharmacokinetic profiles for intramuscular dosing of CAB-ULA, supporting longer dose intervals. It said further research, including a registrational study this year, would explore its potential for HIV prevention in adults and its use in combination with other medications as a complete long-acting treatment regimen.

Newspaper round-up

The UK spends less on low-carbon energy policy than any other major European economy, analysis has shown, despite evidence that such spending could lower household bills and increase economic growth more than the tax cuts the government has planned. Spending on low-carbon measures for the three years from April 2020 to the end of April 2023 was about $33.3bn (£26.2bn) in total for the UK, the lowest out of the top five European economies, according to an analysis by Greenpeace of data from the International Energy Agency. - Guardian

Mortgage reforms introduced after the 2008 banking crisis have "tilted too far" in support of financial stability to the point that first-time buyers are being excluded from the housing market, building societies have warned. A report commissioned by the Building Societies Association has called for an overhaul of affordability and repayment rules, which they say have contributed to a steady decline in first-time buyer mortgages since the mid-2000s. - Guardian

A group of former Twitter executives have launched a legal battle against Elon Musk over claims they are owed $128m (£100m) in severance pay. Those suing the Tesla billionaire, who bought Twitter for $44bn in October 2022 before renaming it X, include ex-chief executive Parag Agrawal and former finance boss Ned Segal. - Telegraph

The Indian owner of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is to spin off its car division as it prepares for a future built around electric vehicles (EVs). Tata Motors on Monday said the demerger will see its existing auto business effectively divided between passenger cars and commercial vehicles. The former will focus on EVs while the latter will produce larger vehicles such as trucks and buses. - Telegraph

The boss of Marks & Spencer has branded the inflation-linked increase to commercial property taxes as "economically illiterate" in a last-ditch effort to persuade the government to make a U-turn before this week's budget. Stuart Machin, chief executive of the food-to-fashion retailer, said the government needed to do more to understand the importance of the retail sector as existing policy "makes being an employer of people and running stores really hard". - The Times

US close

Wall Street stocks closed lower on Monday as both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite fell from the all-time highs recorded at the end of last week.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.25% at 38,989.83, while the S&P 500 lost 0.012% to 5,130.95 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 0.41% higher at 16,207.51.

The Dow closed 97.55 points lower on Monday, reversing gains recorded in the previous session.

Nvidia continued to trade higher on Monday after rallying sharply at the end of last week, with the stock now trading at a fresh record high, while tech giant Apple traded lower after being levelled with a $1.84bn antitrust fine by the European Union.

No major data points were released on Monday but later in the week, market participants will turn their attention to ADP's employment survey and job openings data on Wednesday, while Friday will mark the release of both manufacturing and nonfarm payrolls data.


Email this article to a friend

or share it with one of these popular networks:

Top of Page