Market Report: Weather puts spoke in Halfords hopes

The Tour de France may be in full flow, but that didn't stop Halfords ending up at the back of the pack yesterday. The bike seller came close to finishing at its lowest-ever share price last night as fears continued to grow that the recent terrible weather means its upcoming update could be a shocker.

Bicycles and tents don't tend to be much in demand when the rain is pouring do, so the fact that last month was the wettest June on record does not exactly bode well for the group's first-quarter statement in a fortnight.

Yesterday, Kate Calvert from Seymour Pierce added to the gloom by drastically lowering her expectations. The scribbler cut her pre-tax profit forecast for the year by 15 per cent, warning she did "not expect pretty first-quarter sales numbers" and saying that, as well as the torrid weather, Halfords was also being hit by rivals' discounting.

In addition, analysts from Barclays were not helping by claiming Halfords – along with high street institution Marks & Spencer, 1.8p worse off at 329.2p – would be "severely affected" by the soggy conditions, although they added that a very disappointing update was "already in the price".

Ms Calvert did provide some glimmer of hope. Fears have been raised recently over the future of the company's dividend, but she was unconcerned, saying its cashflow was strong enough to sustain it.

Nonetheless, Halfords ended up being pegged back 20.4p to 208p – its lowest since 2008. This was partly thanks to the stock trading ex-dividend, although given this accounted for around 14p of the fall it would have still finished deep in the red.

A three-day rally for the FTSE 100 came to an end as the top-tier index moved back from a two-month high, edging down 3.26 points to 5,684.47. With Wall Street enjoying a day off for Independence Day, volumes were light so traders were free to watch Bob Diamond's grilling by MPs as Barclays dipped 1.05p to 166p.

GKN advanced 3p to 186.6p amid talk the engineer could wrap up the acquisition of Volvo's aircraft business this month. The Swedish giant revealed back in November that discussions with possible buyers had started, with GKN emerging as the favourite to win the race in March.

Slash your prices, was the advice being given to Tesco boss Philip Clarke. Having examined industry data, the analysts at ING revealed that shopping at the supermarket has actually got relatively more expensive compared to the rest of the market since its profit warning in January.

They were particularly concerned over the gap being built up between the UK's largest grocer and its "biggest threat", Asda, saying "deeper price cuts are the only way to prevent Tesco customers from switching". With the scribblers – who warned the food retail industry as a whole was "increasingly unattractive" – deciding it was time to sell its shares, the group slipped 3.8p to 315.95p, while rival Morrisons moved down 2.2p to 268.4p after its rating was downgraded to "hold" from "buy".

Takeover chatter around Phoenix was given another airing. After bid talks with CVC Capital Partners fell apart earlier in the year, Berenberg's Matthew Preston said that either the insurer will refinance its debt or it would "once again step into the limelight as a … target". Either way, he raised his advice to "buy" as Phoenix was lifted 13.4p to 489.3p on the FTSE 250.

Anyone hoping Man Group's recent relegation from the Footsie would spark a turnaround in the hedge fund giant's share price will have to think again. It was knocked back to its lowest since early 2000, falling 3.3p to 67.55p, after JP Morgan cut its target price by more than 50 per cent to 45p, with the broker saying there was "no reason to believe Man is 'cheap' despite the share price decline".

Tiddler Travelzest flew up 0.62p to 5.75p after the release of its interim results. The tour operator and owner of the UK's largest nudist holiday business is up for sale and announced the list of potential bidders, which include its chief executive and finance boss, had been cut down to a "small number of preferred parties".

Meanwhile, African Minerals' appointment of Keith Calder – a former big-wig at Rio Tinto (down 14.5p to 3,142.5p) – as its new boss got the thumbs up, as the iron ore producer jumped 32.75p to 367.75p.

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Voices
A Siberian Tiger
voices
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Java Developer - Banking - London - Up to £560/day

£500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...

HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Account Manager - (Product & Account Management, Marketing)

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried