Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
A solid set of half year numbers from Unilever [LON:ULVR] this morning with sales up 3.3% and margins improved by 50 basis points. However, full year expectations are stated as having sales growth come in towards the bottom end of the 3%-5% stated range. Turnover is struggling in the wake of the sale of the company’s spreads business, but with efficiency savings seemingly proving successful, investors may be willing to see the glass as being half full.
A solid set of full year numbers from Diageo [LON:DGE] today, reporting continued net sales growth and the return of a further £4.5 million to shareholders over the next two years. On sales of £12.9 billion, some £4 billion has been booked as profit, which underlines the strength of this business. The board has approved a further £4.5 billion return to shareholders over the next two years and the full year dividend is up by 5%. It seems as if there’s plenty to cheer in these numbers.
There’s an upgrade from Compass Group [LON:CPG] in their trading statement released today, stating that a strong performance in North America is paving the way for organic revenue growth to be at the top of the previously forecast range. Other territories are performing well, although growth in Europe, at just 1.9% for the quarter, reflects the weakening macroeconomic environment in the UK, France and Germany.