The U.K.'s blue-chip index ended the session 0.17% lower on Wednesday at 7,469.51 points. "The UK Autumn Statement wasn't a big market-moving event today and perhaps in the current environment, that's a good thing," Oanda analyst Craig Erlam writes in a market comment, pointing to recent speculation that Finance Chief Jeremy Hunt would announce measures that could run counter to the Bank of England's 2% inflation target. Home-improvement retailer group Kingfisher was the FTSE 100's worst performer on the back of weak third-quarter sales and another guidance cut. "Maybe the chancellor's largesse at the Autumn Statement, giving consumers a reduction in [national insurance] payments, will mean some extra spending heads towards Kingfisher - the share price could certainly do with some propping up," IG analyst Chris Beauchamp says.


Smith & Nephew to Buy CartiHeal for $180 Mln

Smith & Nephew said it will buy CartiHeal for an initial cash consideration of $180 million, and that the transaction will be financed from existing cash and debt facilities.


Johnson Matthey Hikes Views Despite Pretax Profit Slip on Lower Metal Prices

Johnson Matthey raised its underlying performance guidance despite pretax profit falling on a decline in precious metal prices.


Kingfisher Cuts Profit Expectations Again After Weaker Sales in France

Kingfisher further cut its profit guidance for fiscal 2024 after reporting an fall in third-quarter sales, mainly dragged by its performance in France.


Severn Trent Pretax Profit Falls on Higher Energy, Chemical Prices

Severn Trent said its pretax profit fell in the first half of the fiscal year on higher energy and chemical prices, while it backed its outlook for the current regulatory period.


Britvic Profit Fell on Higher Costs; Lifts Dividend

Britvic reported a fall on pretax profit for fiscal 2023 on the back of increased costs, but raised its dividend payout.


Sage Group Pretax Profit Fell Despite Double-Digit Revenue Growth

Sage Group reported a lower pretax profit for fiscal 2023 despite double-digit revenue growth, and outlined a share buyback program of up to 350 million pounds ($438.8 million).


Speedy Hire Pretax Profit Fell; Sees Full Year at Lower End of Views

Speedy Hire said pretax profit fell for the first half of its fiscal year as revenue decreased on lower hire and service revenue, and that results for the year will be toward the lower end of the board's expectations.


Old Mutual Life Insurance Sales Rise

Old Mutual said life insurance sales in the first nine months of the year rose as positive momentum in personal finance contributed to growth.


QinetiQ Says Klear Kite Has Increased Stake to 11.48%

QinetiQ Group said that Klear Kite--a Delaware limited liability company--has increased its stake in the company to 11.48%.


Partners Group to Sell Civica to Blackstone

Switzerland's Partners Group Holding has agreed to sell U.K. software developer Civica to Blackstone, the U.S. firm's latest bet in the U.K.


Sage Group Shares Rise on Buyback Plan, Double-Digit Revenue Growth

Sage Group shares are up over 10%--leading the FTSE 100 index risers--after outlining a buyback of up to 350 million pounds ($438.8 million) worth of shares and reported double-digit revenue growth for fiscal 2023.


Kingfisher Shares Slip After Second Guidance Cut This Year

Kingfisher is the FTSE 100's worst performer after the group cut its fiscal 2024 profit expectations for the second time in less than three months, mainly due to a sales drop in France.


Ithaca Energy Backs Output View; Improves Cost Target Again

Ithaca Energy reported a slight fall in nine-month earnings but improved its full-year cost guidance and backed its output target.


Freeline Therapeutics Agrees to Buyout by Syncona

Freeline Therapeutics Holdings has agreed to be acquired by majority shareholder Syncona in a deal that values the clinical-stage biotechnology company at about $28.3 million.


Severn Trent Looks Best-Placed for Growth in the Sector

1207 GMT - Severn Trent reported a slight dip to profit before interest and taxes on one-offs, but the backed guidance is much more important, Bank of America analyst John Campbell writes in a research note. "Our positive stance is based mainly on our view that Severn Trent looks among the best positioned of U.K. water firms to deliver value-accretive growth from the expected large scale AMP8 investment," Campbell says. AMP8 refers to the upcoming regulatory 2025-30 period. In addition, BofA considers the water utility's equity story to revolve much more around the outcome of the upcoming 2024 price regulatory review, which should provide meaningful scope to regulatory capital-value growth during AMP8, the analyst says. Shares are up 1.1% at 2,680.00 pence. (


UK Real Estate, Leisure and Retail Stocks Rise Ahead of Autumn Budget

1155 GMT - U.K. stocks are in fashion ahead of the government's Autumn Statement at lunchtime, with the more domestic-focused FTSE 250 index rising 0.81% to 18,497 and property and construction stocks among those in demand, AJ Bell says. U.K. finance chief Jeremy Hunt is expected to unveil measures to boost British business including removing planning red tape, boosting foreign investment and cutting business taxes, and there are talks of changes to National Insurance, AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould says in a research note. National Insurance cuts would amount to a tax cut for consumers, giving them more flexibility to spend on goods and services--good news for retailers and leisure companies, Mould says. Shares in Barratt Developments, Taylor Wimpey, Next and J.D. Wetherspoon are all up 1.75%, 1.45%, 0.1% and 1.3%, respectively. (


Kingfisher's Market Conditions Are Mostly to Blame

1147 GMT - Kingfisher's poor 3Q performance and guidance cut aren't a problem with the group itself and market conditions should be blamed, eToro analyst Adam Vettese says in a note. The home-improvement retailer's market expectations for sales are higher after the pandemic-era do-it-yourself boom, but consumers are spending less on the sector given the cost-of-living crisis and the return to the office policies, the analyst says. The company is also facing fierce competition in its key markets, particularly in Poland and France, Vettese says. "We expect things to improve as economic conditions become more benign and consumers are feeling better off," the analyst adds. Shares are down 6.0% at 216.7 pence. (


Kingfisher's Disappointing Performance Could Raise Questions Over Disposals

1142 GMT - Kingfisher's 3Q update suggests that the group is returning to its patchy form of the past after years of inconsistent performance, AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould says in a note. "There is no question the economic backdrop is far less helpful to Kingfisher today. Do-it-yourself activity is closely linked to property markets, which have been scarred by rising borrowing costs and weak consumer confidence," Mould says. After disappointing sales in France, investors may question the group's structure and whether any of these various businesses could be sold off, Mould highlights. Shares are at the bottom of the FTSE 100, down 6.2% at 216.4 pence.(


European Stocks Rise Ahead of Likely Higher US Open

1132 GMT - European stocks mostly rise after mixed Asia trading and ahead of an expected higher U.S. open. The Stoxx Europe 600 gains 0.4% and the DAX and CAC 40 advance about 0.5%, though the FTSE 100 trades flat ahead of the U.K. government's autumn budget statement. Oil shares trade mixed as Brent crude drops 1.2% to $81.43 a barrel. Australian and mainland Chinese stocks fell 0.2% and 1.2% respectively, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed flat and Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.3%. IG futures data shows the Dow opening at 35125, versus Tuesday's close of 35088. "In a bumper day for U.S. data, U.S. unemployment claims, durable-goods orders and weekly oil-inventory figures are among the figures being released," IG analysts write. (


Britvic's Earnings Per Share Outlook May Weigh on Sentiment

1115 GMT - Britvic shares edge 0.5% lower after the soft-drink maker reported higher annual revenue and adjusted pretax earnings before interest, though its adjusted EBIT margin fell. While adjusted EBIT topped market expectations, earnings-per-share estimates for the year to the end of September 2024 are likely to come down by low single digits, Goodbody says. "The headline number here should reassure, with generally solid trading momentum despite tough end-market conditions," Goodbody analyst Fintan Ryan writes. "However, the below-the-line items will weigh on EPS, which will be negative for sentiment in the current backdrop." (

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-22-23 1229ET