Restaurant Group Cooking on gas

Thursday, August 31: a number of stocks led the FTSE 100 higher at the open, as risk-off mode abated the FTSE 100 closed out the day 0.89% higher. Stock specific news was thin on the ground in the primary index with those stocks in green a generic array of industries as investors re-bought the market following the events in Asia at the start of the week. The picture looked much the same across the continent, the pond, and in Asia itself with major indices closing higher yesterday and in the green today.

Restaurant Group topped the FTSE 250 index today after jumping almost 9.00% higher after serving up a first half profit. The restaurant chain, owner of brands such as Frankie & Bennie’s and Garfunkel’s announced a pretax profit of £2.8m in the 26 weeks ended July 2, after suffering a pretax loss of £22.5m in the first half of 2016. Profit was helped as exceptional costs were more than halved to £22.7m from £59.1m, as good progress on costs reduction was also made. One of the key initiatives has been the launch of a cheaper fixed price menu at £9.95 for two courses which was noted as performing well. Furthermore, its new menu has seen entry prices reduced by 22%, and like-for-like dishes 7% cheaper on average.

Yet another sign of the pressure on UK households was illustrated by a reduction in those opening up a cash ISA this month. The amount of money put into cash Individual Savings Accounts(ISAs) fell by a third year-on-year, as low interest rates and tax changes made them less attractive to savers. According to the Office for National Statistics(ONS) the savings rate, the amount that households save out of their income, fell to just 1.7% in Q1 2017.This is the lowest rate that has been recorded,  no doubt been hindered by falling disposable income of households as inflation started to bite. Data indicated that the ratio has been falling since 2015, suggesting that a longer term decline has been driven by low interest rates.

Across Europe, indices were up at the close with the FTSE 100 +0.89%, the DAX 30 +0.44% and the CAC 40 +0.58%.

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