Severn Trent continues to deliver 'strong service', Barratt interim profits rise
The FTSE 100 was being called to open 44.2 points higher ahead of the bell on Wednesday after closing 0.36% stronger in the previous session at 7,864.71.
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Water supply company Severn Trent said on Wednesday that it had continued to deliver "a strong service" for its customers despite the driest summer on record and a "challenging" winter.
Severn Trent stated there has been "no material changes" to its current year business performance or outlook since its interim results on 22 November and noted that its guidance for 2022-23 remained unchanged.
UK housebuilder Barratt reported a rise in interim profits but said net reservations in January had fallen 45% as buyers started to withdraw from the market due to rising interest rates and mortgage costs.
Barratt said on Wednesday that pre-tax profits rose to £501.5m, up 15.9% year-on-year, while revenues were up 24% to £2.8bn.
Households in Britain will suffer a hit to their finances of up to £4,000 this year, according to a report warning that the economy could avoid recession but that, for millions, it will not feel like it has. Adding to pressure on Rishi Sunak as the government prepares to scale back its support for energy bills this spring, the National Institute for Economic and Social Research said low and middle-income households were facing the biggest financial hit from the cost of living crisis. – Guardian
Zoom is to make 1,300 layoffs, letting go of around 15% of its workforce as the Covid-19 pandemic's work-from-home culture comes to a crashing halt. Eric Yuan, the chief executive, said: "We have made the tough but necessary decision to reduce our team by approximately 15% and say goodbye to around 1,300 hardworking, talented colleagues." – Telegraph
Lidl and Tesco are facing off in a High Court battle over a yellow circle logo. The two supermarkets are at loggerheads over claims by Lidl that Tesco infringed its copyright by using a yellow circle to promote its clubcard prices. Tesco has filed a counterclaim against Lidl in the dispute which started in April last year. – Telegraph
Loans that were potentially fraudulent accounted for close to £1 in every £6 paid by taxpayers to cover losses on a key pandemic finance scheme. New official figures show that of the £4.1bn the government has paid to lenders for defaulted credit under the bounce back loan scheme, £640.0m worth of facilities were marked as "suspected fraud". – The Times
Funds managed by Jupiter Asset Management have sold their stakes in privately owned Starling Bank and sworn off buying any unlisted shares in future. Jupiter said its open-ended funds would make no further investments in unlisted shares. – The Times
Wall Street stocks closed higher on Tuesday as traders digested comments from the Fed's Powell.
At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.78% at 34,156.69, while the S&P 500 advanced 1.29% to 4,164.00 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 1.90% firmer at 12,113.79.
Reporting by Iain Gilbert at Sharecast.com