“The FTSE100 continued to make gains in early trading with supermarkets to the fore after strong trading at Morrisons also spurred interest in Tesco. Financial stocks were the main losers with Prudential and Royal Bank of Scotland at the foot of the board,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.
“Morrisons had its strongest Christmas trading performance for seven years. Like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, have grown for the last four quarters but the 1.6% rise in the third quarter was dwarfed by the 2.9% jump in the nine weeks to the beginning of January. Morrisons now expects full-year underlying pre-tax profits to be ahead of consensus* in the range £330m to £340m. Morrisons was up 4% in early trading.
“Majestic Wine’s shares rose after it maintained its full-year forecasts following a 15.3% rise in sales during the 10-week Christmas/New Year period. Majestic Wine had already coughed up one big profit warning and needed a huge improvement in like-for-like sales growth to avoid another. It achieved this with Majestic Retail having its biggest ever Christmas with like for like sales up 7.5%, on top of 7.3% like for like growth a year ago. Majestic Wine’s shares were up by over 3%.
“Self-storage group Big Yellow Group’s like-for-like revenue increased by 5% in the group's seasonally weaker third quarter. After a weaker October, occupancy performance improved in November and December and earnings guidance for the full year remains in line with forecasts.”
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