Investors’ Sweet Tooth Wears off With ABF

Thursday, January 18: today saw the primary index slip again for the fourth consecutive day, as retail, resource and energy stocks dragged the index -0.32% lower.

Associated British Foods(-3.43%) was one of the main suspects to detract from FTSE 100 performance, despite reporting 4% growth year-on-year at constant currencies(AER: +3%)as clothing segment Primark experienced growth of 7% on the same basis, but below a consensus estimate of 10%. Operating margins are now expected to be similar to those in the same period last year, with better buying “virtually offsetting” the adverse effect on purchase costs of the weaker pound against the dollar. However, AB Sugar revenue capitulated 13% at actual exchange rates. As a result lower revenue and profit than previously forecast is now expected for the full year, primarily as a result of “significantly lower EU sugar prices”, hitting its UK and Spanish businesses.

AA(-4.23%) was one of the largest fallers on the FTSE 350 following a broker downgrade from Barclays. The rating change saw a reduction in the equity target price of £0.70 to £2.00.

Looking overseas, a reprieve emerged for the Airbus A380 as it faced almost certain extinction. The airline Emirates announced an order for up to 36 Airbus A380s in a deal estimated to be worth $16bn(£11.5bn). Emirates is the only airline to have put the A380 at the heart of its operations and had not been expected to place an order for more of the jets at the Dubai Airshow last November, especially as it proceeded to then order 40 Boeing Dreamliners instead. Staying overseas, France and Germany will make joint proposals to regulate Bitcoin at the next G20 summit in Argentina in March, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire announced.

Across Europe, indices were mixed at the close with the FTSE 100 -0.32%, the DAX 30 +0.74% and the CAC 40 +0.02%.

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