DFS, Enterprise Inns and Smith & Nephew

“The FTSE100 opened on the front foot following a mostly positive turn by Wall Street overnight and a mixed session in Asia this morning. Traders will be looking at French and Italian industrial production data this morning, along with US unemployment and the Fed's monetary policy report this afternoon,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.

“Furniture group DFS investors are sitting comfortably in the knowledge that a special dividend will be coming their way in the interim results in March. DFS continued to achieve good sales growth in the 26 weeks to 28 January and its expectations for the full year remain unchanged. The weaker pound has had some impact on product margins but the group is offsetting this through range management and supplier negotiations while its UK manufacturing capability and superior scale gives it an important competitive advantage. DFS’s shares were up by more than 2.5% in early trading.

Enterprise Inns has made a good start to its financial year with like-for-like net income growth of 1.6% in the 18 weeks to 4 February. The group has seen an encouraging performance from its commercial property and managed house businesses and despite potential headwinds from legislative cost increases and the new regulatory environment it remains on track to meet its full year forecasts.

Smith & Nephew was the biggest blue-chip faller in early trading as growth failed to meet its expectations and the full-year dividend distribution was almost half that of the previous year. Pre-tax profits almost doubled to $1.06bn as the group kept a tight rein on expenses and benefited from the sale of its gynaecology business. But market conditions in China and the Gulf States together shaved more than a percentage point of growth off the group’s performance. Smith & Nephew’s shares were down by over 3.6%.”

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