Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
WH Smith [LON:SMWH] is tapping up investors for another £155m in news of a share placing this morning, accompanying its full year results. Representing 7% of the company’s existing share capital, the money is being earmarked for ventures such as increasing the group’s international travel business, specifically in the US travel market. The list of British companies who have failed to crack North America – especially in retail – is well known, but WH Smith seems convinced that its model has scope to make a foothold.
Q3 results from Unilever [LON:ULVR] are out this morning, showing sales momentum continuing through the reporting period with the business striking a balance between volume and price. Underlying sales growth was 2.9%, with Europe proving the most challenging market where increased turnover came at the expense of margins. For the full year, expectations remain that sales will be in the lower half of the longer term range, but the outlook for 2020 is positive.
There’s a quarterly trading update out from National Express [LON:NEX] today which is brim full of positive news. Group revenues are up 14.5% and profits have risen 14.3%, with the company continuing to win new contracts. Expansion in the US saw revenues in the territory rise more than 20%, whilst growth in the UK market was up a more modest 3%, but this was against tough comparatives. No hits over the outlook or whether a renewed environmental focus will drive more passengers onto public transport, but on the face of it, this seems to be a commendable performance.