“The FTSE100 was buoyant following gains in the US and Asia after the US Federal Reserve increased interest rates. The Bank of England will reveal its rates decision at midday but is anticipated to hold its benchmark interest rate, whereas the Fed's hike last night is predicted to be followed by several more this year and next,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.
“Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s fourth quarter sales were given a boost from Argos. Taken together like-for-like sales edged up 0.3%, excluding fuel, in the fourth quarter. But Argos was the group’s stand-out performer with its like-for-like sales up 4.3% while Sainsbury’s like-for-like sales were down by 0.5% as the grocery market remained very competitive. Sainsbury’s shares were down by more than 1.5% in early trading.
“Engineering group Balfour Beatty swung back into profit after two years of losses and its order book is up 15% at £12.7bn. The group has also improved its customer satisfaction scores as it continues to implement its ‘Build to Last’ programme. Balfour Beatty is focused on its core markets in the UK and US, where governments are committed to large scale expenditure on infrastructure.
“Atlantis Resources is targeting the French tidal market through a cooperation agreement with specialist marine engineering company, INNOSEA. France has the second largest tidal power resource in Europe and Atlantis is preparing an industrial plan to enter the market in collaboration with INNOSEA.”
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