Sales are up at Sainsbury but it's not enough to keep analysts happy it seems, and Unilever has today gone ex-dividend so the FTSE is moving south in early trading.
The FTSE 100 index is down almost 16 points or 0.3% to 5423.8 within the first hour of trading in London as Sainsbury has reported sales were up 5% to £8.3bn in the fiscal first half and earnings reached £58m, but the sales figure is lower than analysts were hoping to see.
As a result, Sainbury’s share price is down 4.75p or 1.6% to 287p but a fall on the FTSE is not all down to one company as from today, new investors in Unilever stocks, the world's third-largest food company, will not be entitled to the first-half dividend. Unilever is currently down 8p or 1.4% to 563p.
There have been a spate of companies moving ex-dividend of late as Cable & Wireless, Carnival, Marks & Spencer and and Yell Group are currently trading without the right to dividends.
And mobile operator Vodafone is down 0.5p or 0.4% to 128.75p as analysts predict profits will be affected by its latest attempts to win new customers.
Asian stocks finally made gains again after a two-day slump thanks to a four-month low in the oil price yesterday to $56.98 and a two-year high on the dollar against the yen, both of which are likely to mean improved spending power for consumers and better profit margins for exporters.
The Nikkei 225 index earned 79 points or 0.56% to 14.170 by 3pm close of business in Tokyo while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 23 points or 0.16% to 14,650.5 and the South Korean Kospi index earned 13.3 points or 1.06% to 1,267.16.
Toyota, Asia's biggest carmaker, made the best gains of the day and rose 2.8% to 5,500 yen and Nissan Motor Company, Japan's second-largest car manufacturer, climbed 3.5% to 1,216 yen as analysts suggest its annual operating profit rises around 11.5 billion yen for every 1 yen Japan's currency weakens against the dollar.
South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co added 0.7% on its share price to 83,500 won and rival Kia Motors, another South Korean carmaker which has doubled US sales in the past five years, jumped 7.3% to 23,600 won.
The oil price has now dropped again as reserved are rebuilding in the US and pressure on demand will therefore ease.
And in the US yesterday, stocks continued to fall as a result of the pressure on the dollar and speculation about the impact the new Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke will have on interest rates and economic growth.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average index fell 10.7 points or 0.1% to 10.686 while the Nasdaq lost 14.2 points or 0.65% to 2,186.7 and the S&P 500 index dropped 4.75% or 0.38% to 1,229.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Julie Henderson on 020 7968 4571 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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