LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) had a good week this week, with news of the Federal Reserve’s latest round of quantitative easing giving worldwide markets a nice boost. With that coming on top of the European Central Bank’s commitment to a new bond buying program, the index of U.K. blue chips ended the week up 121 points (2%), to 5,916 points, for a new six-month high.
But which individual companies were rising and falling? Here’s a few that made the news.
Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS.L )
U.K. banks had a good week this week in response to the overall brighter outlook, with the state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland heading them up. The bank, bailed out by taxpayers during the depths of the banking crisis, gained 26 pence (10%) on the week to reach 279 pence, and is now up 25% since September 5.
That’s still way down on pre-crunch prices, but the bank should finally be back in profit this year, and forecasts for December 2013 put the stock on a forward price to earnings ratio of a modest nine.
Supergroup (LSE: SGP.L )
Online fashion retailer Supergroup, the owner of the Superdry brand, has had a volatile recent history, having reached the heady heights of over 17 pounds per share in early 2011. But, like many stocks that attract fad attention, Supergroup, which counts the likes of David Beckham amongst its customers, slumped to a low of 267 pence in June this year, after various operational problems emerged.
Since then, after a management reshuffle, it’s powered on back up to 635 pence this week, supported by a 10% rise in first quarter sales that were reported a few days ago. It’s still priced as a growth share, but far more modestly than in the past.
Burberry Group (LSE: BRBY.L )
Talking of the fickleness of fashion, Burberry Group suffered a backlash this week, as the company, whose clothes are so popular amongst the rising rich of China, warned that this year’s profits are likely to come in around the lower end of current analysts’ forecasts. The shock caused the market to dump the stock, and the price ended the week 280 pence (20%) down, at 1,094 pence.
Retail sales for the 10 weeks to September 8 were up 6%, but that was all due to new store space, as like-for-like sales were flat. In fact, Burberry told us that like-for-like sales had seen a “deceleration in recent weeks.” Will Burberry bounce back from this setback? It’s done it before, and I wouldn’t bet against it this time.
Hilton Food Group (LSE: HFG.L )
Specialist meat packing company Hilton Food Group fell this week, after turning in first-half results, with the price losing 43 pence (14%), to end the week at 262 pence. Although turnover for the six months rose by 9.4%, to 543 million pounds, bottom line pre-tax profit was just 0.4%, up to 9.6 million pounds. But there was a net cash inflow, and the company got its net debt down from 24.8 million pounds to 14.9 million.
Full-year forecasts don’t look bad, with a dividend yield of 4% currently expected, from shares on a forward price to earnings ratio of 10, which is a fair way below the long term FTSE average of around 14.
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