BUSINESS CLOSE: FTSE slips after strong start to 2022; Christmas trade boosts Next; UK services growth at 10-month low
London stock markets fell today after a strong start to 2022, with the FTSE 100 closing down 0.9 per cent at 7,450.4 and the FTSE 250 ending the day 1.5 per cent lower at 23,416.9.
In company news, Next beat guidance for sales in the run-up to Christmas and has raised its full-year profit outlook for a fifth time in ten months.
Meanwhile, sausage rolls maker Greggs lifted full-year profit expectations after strong sales and announced the departure of its chief executive.
And advertising group M&C Saatchi said it had received a preliminary approach from tech mogul Vin Murria, who only yesterday had upped its stake in the company.
Elsewhere, there was more evidence of rising inflation and waning economic recovery after the British Chambers of Commerce found that a record proportion of UK firms were expecting to hike prices for customers in the coming months.
It comes as Britain’s services sector grew at the slowest pace since the country was last in lockdown as Omicron hammered hospitality and travel firms last month.
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Next forecast a full-year pre-tax profit of £822million, up from the £800million previously guided and up 9.8 per cent versus 2019-20