News

EasyJet shares plummeted after the budget airline warned that the timing of Easter would have an impact on its first-half results.

Market Report: Technip's success hits Wellstream's shares

Shares attempted a comeback as nerves about the southern Europe's debt woes eased last night, but Wellstream was held back after losing out on a major contract in Brazil.

The Week Ahead: Primark is key growth engine at AB Foods

Hopes are running ahead of half-yearly results from Associated British Foods, with analysts expecting confirmation of continued growth at the company's Primark retail chain. In a pre-close update issued earlier this year, AB Foods said Primark sales over the six months to the end of February were "substantially ahead" of the year before, as store openings fed through and like-for-like figures strengthened across the business. "Like-for-like sales growth was 8 per cent in the half [year], and as our estimate was 7 per cent like- for-like growth for the first 16 weeks, this suggests growth accelerated towards the period end," Panmure Gordon said in a preview published last week. Including new space, the broker said it was looking for total sales growth of 18 per cent at Primark. Investec too expects to hear of "robust trading" at the chain. The sugar and groceries businesses should also support AB Foods, the broker said.

Ex IG chief to chair new bank

A new bank targeting independent financial advisers is to be launched with the former chief executive of IG Index, Nat Le Roux, earmarked as chairman.

Market Report: Rebound hopes see Yell's number come up

The directories group Yell continued to gain ground last night as traders piled in on recovery hopes.

Investment Column: Cobham is more than just defensive

Immunodiagnostic Systs; Eckoh

The Week Ahead: Debenhams to follow M&S's strong outlook

Analysts expect little in the way of surprises when the high-street chain Debenhams issues half-yearly results this week.

Market Report: Apple's iPad puts ARM under the spotlight

The semiconductors group ARM was in focus last night, with traders buying in amid optimism about Apple's latest offering.

Ryanair raises full-year profit guidance to at least €310m

Ryanair boosted its annual profit forecast yesterday thanks to a spate of bookings at higher-than-expected prices in late February and March.

The Week Ahead: Tough quarter expected from Mothercare

Mothercare is expected to reveal slowing sales growth when it posts a quarterly update this week with the fourth-quarter figures likely to have been hit by tougher comparatives and the cold snap which persisted over January, February and early March.

Market Report: Restructuring cost warnings hit Qinetiq

A broker's warning about the costs of an overhaul haunted the defence and security company Qinetiq, which fell back as the wider market struggled to find direction last night.

Market Report: Astra builds on US healthcare success

The pharmaceuticals group AstraZeneca rose as the benchmark FTSE 100 index fell back last night after being hit by renewed fears of monetary tightening.

Market Report: Centrica flares higher on payout hopes

Earnings hopes supported Centrica as the FTSE 100, hit by another round of weakness in the mining sector, traded lower last night.

The Week Ahead: Analysts predict improvements at Aegis

The City is looking forward to signs of improving momentum at Aegis, the marketing group which is due to issue full-year figures this Thursday.

The Week Ahead: Morrisons is awaiting arrival of new boss

Analysts expect to hear of solid profits growth when the supermarket group Morrisons posts its full-year results this week. UBS is eyeing £760m in pre-tax profits, up by about 18 per cent, while Numis and Jefferies are marginally behind, forecasting a rise of £759m and £757m, respectively. "Morrisons' recent outperformance better reflects its investment attractions. These should be underpinned by a strong set of finals and the confirmation of margin expansion potential," said Jefferies, which expects the chain's full-year earnings before interest and tax to grow by 21 per cent.

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