Friday 20th April 2018
April 20th 2018: Unilever could fall off the FTSE100 index following plans to restructure in Rotterdam says Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre. Unilever has recently decided to shift its HQ to Rotterdam. Spooner reports that a fall in revenue and shares has been reported following the first quarter update. “British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company, Unilever, is facing mounting investor unrest over UK exit. The group has announced plans to move its HQ to Rotterdam which could result in its delisting from the FTSE 100, abandoning its 89-year-old Anglo-Dutch structure. There is opposition amongst a group of shareholders whose holding may be directly affected by the proposal,” details Spooner. “The group, whose brands include Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, reported a fall in revenue in the first quarter update due to adverse currency movements and asset sales. Despite this, underlying sales grew by 3.7%. Expectations for underlying sales growth for the year ahead remains between 3% and 5% and the group remains on track to improve its profit margin by 20% by 2020,” he says. Spooner adds, “Investors have been sweetened by the announcement of a share buyback programme in May to return the proceeds from the spreads disposal to shareholders. In addition to this, the first quarter dividend was raised by 8% to €0.3872. Despite discontent amongst individual shareholders, we maintain our 'buy' recommendation for lower risk investors as this group, which is well managed with a diverse portfolio of global brands and a healthy dividend, continues to see the benefits of its cost-cutting measures, and good growth in key emerging markets.” -- Miles Eakers, market analyst at payments, FX and Treasury management specialist, Centtrip thinks that sterling will drop below $1.40 against the US dollar if the Bank of England holds rates next month "The pound plunged to $1.4045 last night, 2% lower than its level earlier in the week, after Mark Carney left market participants uncertain over the Bank of England's monetary policy by casting doubt over an interest rate rise next month. Should the Bank keep rates at their current level in May, Sterling will weaken further and drop below the $1.40 level against the US dollar.” -- Mike van Dulken and Artjom Hatsaturjants at Accendo Markets, commented to clients this morning: [The] FTSE100 Index called to open +20pts at 7350, holding yesterday’s break above 7340 to keep alive the prospect of a continued reversal towards 7340 or better. Bulls need a break above 7360 to clear overnight highs. Bears require a breach of 7330 if not rising support at 7320. Calls for a positive open are in contrast to slippage in Asia overnight where Tech was spooked by major chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor warning of lower smartphone demand and Qualcomm cutting jobs. This added to a negative close on Wall St after tobacco giant Philip Morris warned on a slower uptake of cigarette alternatives, although M&A (Shire) is helping support sentiment to prevent against more meaningful declines. “Whilst both British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands (5% of the FTSE100) were hit yesterday, and there is potential for further weakness today, this might be offset by comments from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney late yesterday that, in light of recent data (mixed bag) an interest rate hike in May wasn’t a given. This sent GBP back even further helping sentiment towards the many internationally-exposed UK blue-chips,” say the analysts – Elsewhere in the markets, oil prices further consolidated this week’s gains, edging ever so closely to the 4-year high water mark of $75/bl. Brent crude finished at $73.51 (-0.25%) in last night’s trading, as tightening supplies send the oil rally to a 50% growth over the course of last year. A ministerial meeting, scheduled for today in Jeddah, is set to once again pair OPEC and some non-OPEC nations (mainly Russia) on a road for more voluntary production cuts. It remains to be seen whether OPEC+ agrees to extend previous cuts, or whether a completely new agreement will come into force, but a cap of some sort is seen as inevitable, given Saudi and Russian need for more fiscal freedom of movement -- Other commodity prices provided a mixed bag of signals, as continued supply woes sent aluminium up (+6.7%), while nickel was down 3.4%, extending a 1.3% fall on Thursday. Russian miner Rusal was said to be stockpiling large amounts of aluminium at one of its Siberian plants after losing access to some of its Western export markets, according to sources within the giant firm. Gold prices edged slightly lower, setting at 1341 (-0.28%), as USD gained ground -- Visible Alpha says it has received ISO 27001 certification from Schellman & Company, LLC, an ANAB and UKAS accredited Certification Body based in the United States for its information security management system (ISMS) supporting the Visible Alpha Services. ISO 27001 Certification published by the International Organization for Standardization is the leading international standard for establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving a documented ISMS within the context of the organization’s overall business risks - The Bank of England will publish the Libor alternative on Monday next. The Sterling Overnight Index Average will be based on transactions that cover about 90% of the market -- Moody's has changed to positive from stable the rating outlook of CPI Property Group (CPI and affirmed CPI's Baa3 long-term issuer rating, the (P)Baa3 rating of its €3bn medium-term note (MTN) programme and the Baa3 instrument ratings of its senior unsecured bonds issued under the MTN programme. Moody's has also assigned a first-time (P)Ba2 junior subordinated notes rating to CPI's €3bn MTN programme, and a Ba2 to the planned benchmark sized junior subordinated notes (hybrid) issuance under the MTN programme. "CPI's positive outlook reflects the improvement in credit metrics that is ahead of our expectations [and] a more conservative financial policy recently announced by the company [as well as] the company's stronger equity position following the planned benchmark sized junior subordinated notes (hybrid) issuance that receives 50% equity treatment under our methodology," says Ramzi Kattan, a Moody's vice president, senior analyst, and lead analyst for CPI –

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