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FTSE 100 climbs on better-than-expected January inflation, Coca-Cola leads risers

Published 14/02/2024, 13:29
Updated 14/02/2024, 13:29
© Reuters.  FTSE 100 climbs on better-than-expected January inflation, Coca-Cola leads risers

Proactive Investors -

  • FTSE 100 up 71 points at 7,583.
  • Inflation beats forecasts.
  • Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), housebuilders gain.

Waitrose slashes own-brand prices

Waitrose went the other way to Virgin Media and O2, announcing price cuts to some 200 own-brand items.

Its Essential and Duchy Organic ranges have faced cuts of up to 8%, the supermarket said, with dairy, fish, meat, ready meals and frozen products having been reduced further.

The news comes after ONS data revealed on Tuesday morning that food prices fell for the first time in January since mid-2021.

Coupled with heavy discounting of furniture and household goods, the drop in food costs was welcomed by analysts, who said the weakening consumer goods prices were key in the UK’s road to base rate cuts.

Virgin Media and O2 to hike bills

Virgin Media and O2 customers face an 8.8% price hike from April after the retail price inflation numbers this morning.

Rivals such as BT (LON:BT) use consumer price inflation for December as the base to set tariffs, with these set to rise by 7.9%, but Virgin uses the retail price index for January.

A Virgin Media O2 spokesperson said: "The amount we receive from price increases is greatly outweighed by the £5 million we invest every single day to upgrade our networks and services."

Virgin Media and 02 tariffs go up by 8.8%

Consumer group Which? criticised the pair over the news, arguing they had ignored calls for inflation-linked increases to be ditched this spring.

Bloomsbury leads FTSE all-share risers as analysts see further good times ahead

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (LON:BLPU)’s second profit upgrade in a matter of months could just be the beginning of an epic journey fuelled by further novel releases, analysts say.

Indeed, shares in the London-listed publisher climbed nearly 10% to 540p after it told investors on Wednesday that profit and revenue for the year to February 29 would “significantly” beat expectations of £291.4 million and £37.2 million respectively.

This comes after the market hiked anticipations in December, with the January release of Sarah J. Maas’s latest novel, which subsequently became a bestseller, said to have fuelled earnings.

According to AJ Bell analyst Russ Mould, such growth on the back of Maas’s ‘House of Flame and Shadow’ may not stop there.

“Bloomsbury has at least another six of these potential sales waves locked in from future releases under contract with the author,” he noted.

What’s more, the release of new books often prompts readers to delve into authors’ back catalogues, in Mould’s view, likely bolstering Maas’s sales in this case.

Read more on Proactive Investors UK

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