London pre-open: Stocks to edge lower as investors eye Autumn Statement

Mon 20 Nov 2023

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to edge lower at the open on Monday following solid gains at the end of last week, as investors look ahead to the Autumn Statement.
The FTSE 100 was called to open down around 10 points at 7,494.

Chancellor Jeremey Hunt is set to deliver the Autumn Statement on Wednesday amid reports he will announce a cut to inheritance tax.

Elsewhere, oil prices were on the rise amid speculation that OPEC could extend production cuts.

In corporate news, industrial equipment company Ashtead lowered full-year revenue and profit forecasts after a quieter hurricane season and the writers' and actors' strike in the US.

It now expects both group and US rental revenue growth in the range of 11% to 13%, down from previous guidance of 13% to 16% for both, which will result in core profit being 2- 3% below current market expectations.

Ashtead added that it also now expected a full-year depreciation charge of around $2.1bn a net interest cost of $540m, which will result in adjusted profit before tax being below current market expectations.

Catering giant Compass hiked its final dividend by 27% after annual profits surged on the back of strong sales growth and margin improvement - though it predicts a substantial slowdown in organic growth in the coming year.

Revenues totalled 31.3bn in the year ended 30 September, up 18.8% year-on-year on an organic basis. The company, said net new business growth was 5%, ahead of the historic average of 3%. It did highlight that comparators with last year were affected by pandemic restrictions, and so volume growth had started to normalise towards the back end of the year.

For the current financial year, organic revenue growth is expected in the "high single-digit" range.

Michel-Alain Proch has been appointed as the chief financial officer and a board member of London Stock Exchange Group.

He will officially assume the role on 1 March next year, pending regulatory approval, after joining LSEG on 26 February.

The company said the appointment will follow the 2023 full-year results on 29 February, and will result in Anna Manz stepping down from the board and leaving the group.
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