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Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross

WM Morrison Supermarkets

There’s a trading update out from Morrisons this morning which might leave something to be desired. Retail sales are up just 0.2% for the quarter and although progress is being made with the growth of the company’s deal with McColls, the headline like for like total figure excluding fuel showed growth of 2.3%, well below the 3.6% recorded a year earlier. The company has also announced that it will be adjusting its use of the Ocado fulfilment services as they recover from fire damage to one of their distribution centres. Whilst this will come with cost savings, it has the potential to hamper sales growth at least in the short term.

BT Group

Full year numbers from BT Group have been published, showing an in-line performance for the company. Regulation over the pricing of its Openreach broadband network continues to deliver headwinds, but the income from consumers continues to creep higher. The dividend is being left unchanged and the company admits that heavy investment will continue to be necessary to stay ahead of the pack.

Barratt Developments

A fairly restrained trading update from Barratt the housebuilders is out today. Forward sales are up 2.4% from a year ago and the company is making good progress on medium term targets. Build cost inflation for the year is however expected to run at between 3% and 4% and the company is looking to expand its land bank in a bid to support increased volumes. The note references political and economic risk, but the strength of the balance sheet ought to offer protection. No mention however of what a Labour government might mean for the sector…

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Tony Cross

Tony Cross is a market commentator with over 15 years of experience, producing compelling, insightful copy for journalists and investors alike. Focusing on macroeconomics, UK blue chip equities and inter market analysis, Cross's commentary is well regarded for its clarity and ability to cut through the waffle. He has been quoted in publications as diverse as The Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian and The Sun. He has also been a regular guest on both Share Radio and TipTV.

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