Good session for stock markets around the clock

Thursday, 03 April 2014

FTSE traded steadily late morning on Wednesday, on toll of a rebound in precious metals prices. The broader financial sector, supermarkets and property-related stocks also gained. FTSE 100 was up 14.63 points, or 0.22 percent, while the FTSE 250 added 63.33, or 0.39, thus reversing their earlier falls.

It was a good session also in the US markets, where the Dow rose 75 points to 16,533, the Nasdaq gained 69 points at 4,268 and the S&P500 added 14 points at 1,886. In Asia, the Nikkei closed up 154 points at 14,946 and the Hang Seng was ahead 52 points at 22,501.

In London, Marks & Spencer (MKS) improved 2.32 percent to 470.45p on reports it plans an aggressive expansion into international markets. The beloved British High Street fashion retailer made the announcement at the company's International Investor event in Paris.

The London-based company, which currently generates one-tenth of its revenues from regions outside the UK, plans to increase its revenues from international markets by 25 percent in the next three years.

Back to the UK, ASOS reassured investors and analysts alike saying that its long-term growth ambitions were as strong as ever. The online fashion retailer posted a 22 percent fall in first-half profit that reflected a step-up in its investment plan.

"Fundamentally the story's still as strong as ever, the opportunity's probably stronger than ever," founder and Chief Executive Nick Robertson said in an interview with Reuters. On the wake for the news, the stock was trading in the region of 5.17 pounds Wednesday.

In an attempt to regain the market´s trust, Robertson advanced that they "are on line to hit our 1 billion pounds of sales (target) this year (2013-14), which means we've got to grow at 30 odd percent for the second half. I'm comfortable with that."

Planet Retail's e-commerce Research Director, Malcolm Pinkerton, sustained however that "The ASOS results are far from disappointing; especially for the UK. Although Europe and the US performed well, the Rest of World let the side down, even if underlining demand appears strong. Realistically you can't expect stratospheric growth to be reported in all countries operated every time. There might well be some bumps in the road, and while the juggernaut that is ASOS might well be slowing, it remains on course to deliver on, if not exceed, expectations.

"Reaching its new sales target of 2.5 billion pounds global sales requires investment, a fact that some short-term, near-sighted investors are unwilling to consider. Personally, I'd be concerned if ASOS was not investing in growing its business in a scalable way with an eye on long-term profitability," Pinkerton added.

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