London pre-open: Stocks seen down as investors mull China data

by | Jul 31, 2023

(Sharecast News) – London stocks were set to fall at the open on Monday as investors mulled the latest Chinese manufacturing data and news of further measures from authorities in China to boost consumption.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 30 points lower at 7,664.

Data released earlier by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that manufacturing activity shrank for the fourth month in a row. The manufacturing PMI for July rose to 49.3 from 49.0 in June. This remained below the 50 mark that separates contraction from expansion, although it was above consensus expectations of 48.9.

Meanwhile, the non-manufacturing PMI fell to 51.5 in July from 53.2 the month before, versus consensus expectations of 53.0.

Also on Monday, Chinese authorities announced further measures to bolster consumption, targeting areas such as electric vehicles and housing and tourism.

In UK corporate news, precision instrumentation and controls manufacturer Spectris posted a 23% jump in half-year sales driven by a mix of volume and market share growth. together with higher prices.

Adjusted operating profits were up by 41% to a record £102.1n and the company’s book-to-bill ratio neared 1.0 as order intake normalised.

Management also upgraded its guidance, telling shareholders that full-year organic sales were now seen rising by more than the 6-7% previously anticipated. Adjusted operating profits for the year were seen coming in at between £250-265m.

Education and publishing group Pearson reported a 6% rise in first-half underlying sales, excluding its Online Program Management and Strategic Review businesses. That helped drive a 44% rise in adjusted operating profits and led to a “strong” operating cash flow performance of £79m.

On a statutory basis, sales were 5% higher at £1,879m and operating profit improved from £148m to £219m. Statutory earnings per share improved from 18.1p to 26.1p. Management reiterated its guidance for group revenues, adjusted operating profits and profit margins. The former were seen rising at a mid single-digit pace between 2022-25, while margins were pegged to increase at a clip at the upper end of a mid-teens range in 2025.

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