Quintain estate

Keywords: quintain estate
Description: WSJ's The Source blog looks at stories behind Europe's headlines on business, finance, companies, currencies, commodities and markets.

The City of London will be closed on Monday and Tuesday to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Many sore heads are expected over the long weekend as celebrations are likely to be held across the country.

Meanwhile, investors probably want a stiff drink after a roller-coaster week. Who can blame them? Many of Europe’s main equity indexes suffered their worst monthly performance in years as the euro-zone’s crisis rages on.

Speaking of tipples, Societe Generale  has upgraded brewing giant  SABMiller to “buy”. SocGen likes the sector as a whole, saying  it trades at a premium relative to the overall market, but shows superior and stable growth for coming years.

Not so for food retailers, where although multiples are in line with the market, profits growth is below the market average. Not surprizingly therefore, European food retailers as a whole have been downgraded by SocGen.

Traders are scratching their heads this morning after conflicting economic indicators out of the US yesterday, led to a late sell-off on Wall Street.

On the one hand unemployment is still rising in the US. at a faster rate than analysts had been expecting. And on the other, the Federal Reserve’s rate decision panel agreed to keep interest rates at record low levels and indicated that recovery prospects had improved.

Cameron Peacock a market analyst at IG Markets says: “With the ECB and BoE rate verdicts both due – plus the accompanying UK QE announcement – the potential for further volatility in the short term certainly cannot be overlooked.”

Sounding a note of cautious optimism, Peacock says the UK industrial output reading, also expected today, should move back into positive territory, “again indicating that the recession is coming to a close”.

Still, he reckons the FTSE will open 38 points down. So it is far too early to suggest the markets are likely to be anything but volatile.

A better-than-expected performance from Unilever. the maker of Dove soap and Lipton tea, may help buoy the household goods sector. The company reported a 3.4% rise in third quarter sales, with volumes up 3.6%.[Read the press release. ]

Chief executive Paul Polman was pretty upbeat. “We are on track towards our objective of restoring volume

The telecoms sector may also ring up a few points today after Cable & Wireless confirmed that it is to split in two, with the demerger of its Worldwide business.

The company has reported a 30% jump in first-half earnings driven by its Worldwide division.[Read the Interim Results.]

In a statement chairman Richard Lapthorne said: “The board believes that a demerger is the right structure to drive further growth and value for shareholders by enabling both businesses to pursue their strategies independently, and it is keen to push ahead as quickly as possible.”

Profits rose 30% to £463 million for the six months to September 30, up from £357 million a year ago, just beating market expectation. And while first half revenue rose 13% to £1.86 billion, this was below analysts’ forecasts.

The commercial property sector, which has already seen a rash of rights issues this year, will wake up this morning to yet another. Quintain Estates. owner of land around Wembley Stadium, has announced plans to raise £191.2 million by way of a fully underwritten rights issue. [Read the statement. ]

With interest rates set to hold at current levels and further QE in the pipeline, traders remain twitchy ahead of some solid indication as to when the global recession may begin to retreat. So expect another patchy day’s trading.

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