“The FTSE100 opened on the front foot despite latest consumer spending data from Visa, while not an official baseline, showing a decline in general household spending. US equity markets ended relatively flat, while Asian markets were generally upbeat this morning,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.
“Morrisons topped the blue-chip board following strong Christmas sales figures. Shoppers may be tightening their belts on discretionary items but not on Christmas groceries with the supermarket giant seeing a 3.0% rise in like-for-like sales in the 10 weeks to 7 January and they were even stronger over the Christmas and New Year period with like-for-like sales up 3.7%. Morrisons’ shares were up by 3.7% in early trading.
“Topps Tiles’ shares jumped after a strong first quarter. Like-for-like revenues were up 3.4%, a significant improvement on a year ago when it managed only a 0.3% increase. The group’s expansion into the commercial market is progressing to plan but it retains a prudent view of market condition for the year ahead. Topps Tiles’ shares were up by over 9%.
“Elegant Hotels was a double-digit faller following a drop in after-tax profits and adjusted earnings in the year to the end of September. Occupancy levels improved but revenue per available room and average daily rates were both down. Trading since the start of its new financial year has been in line with forecasts and bookings are currently tracking ahead of a year ago. Elegant Hotels’ shares were down by more than 10.9%.”
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