Wednesday, 8th November: Well obviously the main story today came when we logged on to Twitter to find that they’ve doubled the amount of characters you can tweet! What a great premature Christmas gift from everyone’s (formerly) favourite social media platform. The new 280 character limit means less out of context tweets as you scroll through a feed and realise it’s actually part 2 of a rant. It means Donald Trump can write the work Fake News twice as much. Borussia Dortmund can tweet their full official name (see Google) and generally people who blamed bad grammar on the 140 character constraint have less of a scapegoat. After the elation of that, we concentrated on the markets, where the FTSE 100 fared better today after sterling lost ground. The main index closed the day 0.22% higher, outperforming many other major world bourses on a downbeat day for investors, telling that silver and gold where two of the best performing assets on the day.
Marks & Spencer where amongst the sparse set of firms reporting today, with investors seemingly pleased with progress on the Home & Clothing side, as shares closed 1.62% higher. Their Food division continued to struggle, the group blaming input cost inflation and the struggle to pass these costs on as the main culprit. Home & Clothing full price sales growth helped to offset some of this, self help initiatives paying off for the retailer. The planned growth of Simply Food sites has also been tamed, with focus shifting towards Home & Clothing, in a move showing M&S remains highly cautious about the British retail landscape. They will concentrate on International growth through franchised sites and Directory growth, which has been the standout division over the last 6-18 months. The Group hoping that stores will if anything continue to be an asset as they can drive sales through the Directory, not necessarily meaning physical store sales growth will be so vital.
SSE and Npower have confirmed their merger plans that surfaced yesterday, which will see them merge their domestic business with Npower to form a new energy company and reduce the UK’s ‘big six’ to well, you can figure that one out. Innogy, which owns Npower will hold a minority 34.4% stake in the newly formed firm, the deal has until the end of July next year to be approved.