Morning Round-Up: Sainsbury’s growth, Fed stick on rates, poor European figures

Sainsbury’s posts sales growth

Supermarket Sainsbury’s reported its first quarterly sales growth in over two years on Tuesday, another sign that British grocers are adjusting to the tough market.

The group saw sales at stores open over a year rise by 0.1 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter, beating analysts expectations of a fall of 0.6 percent.

An increase in sales is likely to help the supermarket’s bid for Argos owner Home Retail, a deal that has been in the running for some months. On Tuesday, Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe would not address press speculation that the group would make a higher offer for Home Retail, but added:

“The Argos bid is not a must-do deal at any price and if it doesn’t go ahead then Sainsbury’s will continue,” Mr Coupe said.

Federal Reserve unlikely to raise rates

The Federal Reserve will not be raising rates at their monthly meeting this week, as low oil prices and stock market volatility continues to have an effect.

However, they are likely to make it clear that, as US inflation and jobs strengthen, rates will start rising again.

At the beginning of this year, when the Fed raised rates for the first time in nearly a decade, they hinted that rates may be raised several times in 2016. It is now more likely that rate rises will be taken at a slower pace.

France and Italy see slow economic growth

Growth in the French economy will fall short of expectations in 206, according to the country’s central bank governor on Tuesday.

Economists say 1.5 percent growth is the minimum needed to lower France’s persistently high unemployment rate, which remains above 10 percent.

There was also disappointing news from elsewhere in Europe, as Italy reported that it fell back into deflation in February. Consumer prices fell by 0.2 percent, with inflation on a national basis fell by 0.5 percent.




Previous articleOil falls 2 percent as Iran refuses to curb production
Next articleWhat to expect from George Osborne’s Budget 2016