Tuesday, July 4: UK and major European indices started the day lower and closed out the day in the same manner, as the US observed the July 4 Independence Day holiday and price action was fairly muted. The FTSE 100 closed -0.27% as select finance, utility and “expensive defensive” stocks weighed on the index.
Worldpay(+25.42%) leapt higher after reports hit the wire regarding a potential takeover approach from US-based payment processing and technology provider Vantiv, together with JP Morgan Chase Bank. Shares in the payment processor had already been buoyed from a read-across from news that Danish card payments company Nets, a Worldpay rival, has been approached by potential buyers. The same read-across also pushed Paysafe 2.16% into the green, another UK-listed payments processor.
In contrast, the release of Sainsbury’s Q1 trading statement barely moved the needle, as it closed +0.81%, despite the grocer reporting LFL sales growth and remaining on track to deliver £145m of cost savings this financial year. Retail sales in the 16 weeks ending July 1 grew by 2.7% year-on-year ex. fuel, whilst like-for-like sales rose by 2.3% also ex. fuel. Grocery sales were 3% higher on the back of transaction growth of 1.9%. Management attributed the increase to “strong” food sales, where it had invested in product innovation. The results are a bellwether for a supermarket sector weathering Brexit-induced inflationary pressures and fierce competition from discounters; investors will eagerly awaited comment from Tesco and Morrisons to ascertain a fuller picture of sector dynamics.
Across Europe, indices were lower as the FTSE 100 closed -0.27%, the DAX 30 -0.31% and the CAC 40 -0.40%.