Breakfast Briefing

Another new appointment for M&S.

May 5, 2017

BP - may have reported some bumper profits earlier this week off the back of rising prices since the start of the year, but shares are under pressure both for the company and its major peer BP this morning. Over-production and uncertainty as to whether the Opec cartel will continue to limit production has left oil prices sliding back to levels not seen since last November - sustaining that hard-fought profitability at these levels will be a challenge.

IAG - the company that owns a number of airlines, including British Airways and Aer Lingus, has posted record beating first quarter profits this morning, despite the late easter break falling outside the period this year. The airline has seen a barrage of criticism in the media of late over constant cuts to the service being offered, but this suggests the storm is being weathered well.

Marks & Spencer - has announced the appointment of a new chairman and investors are cheering the news with shares up almost 4% this morning. It’s the former Chief Executive of Asda who has taken the helm and his industry background seems sufficient to suggest he might just be able to help maintain the fortunes of the UK high street mainstay.

Pearson - the educational publisher and owner of Penguin books, may have issued some impressive results this morning which drove the share price 10% higher, but the company is expecting a boisterous AGM today. Activist shareholders are set to have management in the cross hairs, as the painful restructuring process has lead to 5 profit warnings over the last 4 years. The Chief Exec reportedly wants a 20% pay rise, but whether this morning’s bump in the share price will be sufficient to soften up investors remain to be seen.

UK - regional elections took place across much of the UK yesterday and the prognosis doesn’t look good for the Labour party, with early indications suggesting many council seats have been lost. This could be seen as an early indication as to how next month’s general election will play out, with a big majority for Theresa May seen as making the Brexit process that bit easier - something that could in turn help the UK economy. If you’re not yet registered to vote but are eligible to do so, you can sign up here - www.gov.uk/register-to-vote