Low key start for FTSE 100

LSE growth up, Barclays profits down and disappointing results from Stagecoach.

The LSE reported 8% growth in first-quarter revenues.

Barclays reported a 25% drop in profits for the first quarter, which it blames on a weak performance in its investment banking division. 

Pre-tax profit for the first three months of the year was £793mln, down from £1.1bn compared to the corresponding period last year.

Apple shares continued downward at US$104.35. The S&P 500 was up slightly, while NASDAQ continued its slight dip.

The London Stock Exchange reported 8% growth in its first-quarter revenues. 

Revenue for the first three months of 2016 rose to £358.9mln, from £332.1mln in the same period last year.

Total income from continuing operations grew 9% to £387.6mln.

it remains focused on achieving synergies from the FTSE Russell index operations and on investments in a range of growth initiatives, said LSE group.

Elsewhere, Home Retail Group reported a full year pre-tax loss of £804mln after being hit with an £852mln exceptional goodwill impairment charge relating to the Sainsbury's takeover.

The charge aside, annual operating profits dropped 28% to £94.7mln and sales were down 1% to £5.6bn.

Bus operator Stagecoach Group revealed revenue growth in its UK coach operations over the last year had been disappointing, but remained on course to meet expectations for adjusted earnings per share for the year.

It added, however, that the outlook for the UK rail industry is more challenging than it was last year. 

Like-for-like rail revenue growth in its UK rail division was 2.5% to April 2.

Meanwhile, the speciality chemicals group Elementis reported first-quarter Total sales had declined 7% compared to last year, due in part to weak currency and lower oilfield sales.

Oilfield sales fell 37% due to the sharp downturn in North American demand. Chromium sales for the first quarter were 11% lower than the previous year, as expected.

London’s blue chips are set for a flat start as investors brace for a deluge of corporate earnings updates.

Financial spread bet firms expects FTSE 10 to open around five points lower after yesterday’s close at 6,284.

US shares closed higher just about but that was before a disappointing update from iPhone maker Apple, where quarterly sales fell 13% and the slowdown in sales of the iconic phone continued.

Apple shares dropped 8% in after hours trading as profits for the quarter also came in well below expectations.

Revenue dropped to $50.6 bn while net income was US$10.5bn, or $1.90 per share, compared to forecasts of US$2 per share.

Apple’s after hours decline would have knocked 60 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average analysts estimated, but ahead of the announcement the index closed up 13 at 17,990.

The S&P 500 was flat while Nasdaq dipped slightly.

Later today the Fed gives the verdict from its latest interest rate meeting, while tomorrow there is a strategy update from the Bank of Japan.

Asian markets were on the back foot after Apple’s statement with losses in most markets. Tokyo and Hong Kong saw the largest falls.

On the company front Barclays Plc (LON:BARC) reports quarterly numbers for which the consensus adjusted pre-tax profit forecast is £846mln against £1.9bn a year ago.

Shore Capital analysts branded Barclays’s shares as undervalued and urged investors to buy the shares. “We re-iterate our positive stance ahead of tomorrow’s update, despite expecting this to be somewhat downbeat,” it said.

Updates or results are also due from London Stock Exchange, Home Retail, Stagecoach, Elementis and a host of others.

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