Tuesday, July 23: The FTSE 100(+0.56%) closed out the day in the green alongside global indices as hopes of a cut in the US Fed Funds rate spurred equities higher. The UK’s Conservative party appointed its new leader and Prime Minister Boris Johnson following Theresa May’s resignation, though the outcome had proved to be priced into sterling for a matter of weeks.
Mondi(+2.75%) crept higher as it issued a trading statement which guided the market towards higher earnings for H1, and an abatement of exceptional charges. The packaging & paper company declared that basic underlying EPS should come in between 93 and 99 European cents for the first six months of 2019, representing an increase of between 4% and 11% basic EPS. Underlying EBITDA is also expected to exceed that of the prior period, when the company achieved underlying EBITDA of €852m.
The latest Kantar Worldpanel data illustrated that sales at Britain’s big four supermarkets all slowed over the most recent 12 week period. Grocery market share date was indicative of overall growth decline for the first time since June 2016, as supermarket sales fell 0.5% in the 12 weeks to 14 July 2019. Summer 2018 was always going to be a tough comparator given hot weather and the (relative) success England enjoyed at the World Cup, and as such, grocers are expected to return to growth in Q3 once Summer 2019 elapses. Notably customers spend £75m less on alcohol this year relative to last, as both soft drink and ice cream sales fell by £56m and £55m respectively. Cooler weather in 2019 lent itself to confectionery sales which stood £68m higher over the prior period. Morrisons(-0.89%), Tesco(-1.77%) and Sainsburys(-1.38%) were all lower intraday on the data, with further data continuing to highlight sales growth of discount grocers Aldi & Lidl.
European equities were higher at the close, with the FTSE 100 +0.56%, the CAC 40 +0.92% and the DAX 30 +1.64%.