City&FinanceBriefing London Lite Wednesday, 4 November 2009 35 Inbrief Kraft dip threat to Cadbury bid l THE proposed takeover of Cadbury by Kraft was thrown into doubt today after the US giant lowered its sales outlook for the year from 3% to 2%. Kraft made an initial offer of 10.6 billion for Cadbury in September, but this contained a share element and Krafts are now significantly below the $28.10 they were when the approach was made. More job fears after GM U-turn l GEnEral MoTorS shock decision late last night to scrap the sale of its European Vauxhall and opel operations left UK workers in more uncertainty. While Tony Woodley, general secretary of Unite welcomed the move, his local convenor at Vauxhalls Ellesmere Port factory said: This creates more uncertainty over the future of our jobs. Avivas Moss predicts profits l aViVa chief executive andrew Moss today forecast a return to profit at the insurer as he faced the City for the first time since details of an affair with a colleague emerged. Moss, who left his wife of 25 years, said the relationship with married Deirdre Moffatt did not affect his ability to do the job. life and pensions sales dropped 11% in the first nine months. Wetherspoon in a sales setback l THE bastion of bargain boozing JD Wetherspoon was forced to admit that the drowning of recessionary sorrows has gone flat. it today reported like-for-like sales up 0.3% in its august to october trading quarter. But august and early September like-for-likes were running up 1.2%, indicating a fall in sales in recent weeks. Australia Dollars 1.7193 Canada Dollars 1.6739 Denmark Kroner 7.8207 Eurozone Euro 1.0541 HongKong Dollars 11.9800 Japan Yen 139.6800 NewZealand Dollars 2.1120 SouthAfrica Rand 12.0200 Sweden Kronor 11.0200 Switzerland Francs 1.5872 UAE Dirham 5.6144 UnitedStates Dollars 1.5556 ToUrisT rATes UP 25.90 at 5063.11 fTse 100 doW jones niKKei -$ DOWN 17.53 at 9771.91 UP 41.36 at 9844.31 UP 0.44 at $1.6482 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. not all stocks are available Boost for Taylor Wimpey Conditions in the UKs housing market are significantly better than this time last year, with prices rising and a gradual increase in mortgage availability, housebuilder taylor Wimpey said today. the firm said it had avoided the usual seasonal slowdown over the summer and said autumn sales have remained solid. it added that the average selling price for private homes was up 9% on the 163,000 achieved during the first half. The passion for fashion gives Next a new lift NEXTS chief executive Simon Wolfson told the City to upgrade its profit forecasts for the second time in just two months today, after what he called a better than expected third quarter. Seven weeks ago analysts were told to raise forecasts for the fashion firms pre-tax profits from 400 million and settled on an average around 442 million. Today Wolfson said that they could add 30 million to that figure, lifting their forecasts to 472 million, 10% ahead of last years 429 million. He said one area where Next had seen a marked change was in bad-debt provisions and the number of customers in arrears at its Next Directory business -- a sure sign, according to Wolfson, that consumers are getting their personal finances under control. October saw a noticeable pick up in sales which he said was partly due to comparisons with the same month last year when the credit crisis really hit the High Street. Wolfson takes credit for Next upping its game in the fashion stakes. He said: We are making decisions later and changing fashion trends -- whether they be narrow lapels or padded shoulders -- more quickly. It is also key that this is not just in young fashion but right across the ranges. Same-store sales fell 1.3% in the three months to the end of October, but if internet sales are included they actually rose by 2.2% Looking good: model Lily Cole is the face of M&S Christmas in focus as M&s beats its profit forecastsMARKs & spencer poured cold water on hopes of a Christmas rebound on the high street this year as it unveiled first-half profits virtually unchanged from last year. Chief executive sir stuart Rose also announced that M&s would be stocking 400 everyday branded grocery products ranging from Marmite to Coca- Cola in its stores for the first time. sir stuart said the priority over the coming months was to focus on providing better-than-ever value for our customers for the all-important Christmas period and into 2010. however, he warned that the market remains competitive and...we remain cau- tious about the outlook for Christmas. Pre-tax profits for the 26 weeks to 26 september were 298.3 million, up only 500,000 on last year, but still better than the City had been expecting. Food sales were up 1.8 per cent but Marks has seen its market share fall from 3.7 per cent to 3.5 per cent as it has come under siege from Waitrose and cheaper supermarkets during the recession. sir stuart said M&s had continued its efforts to shake off its reputation as an expensive place to do food shopping through price cutting and promotions. it sold 4.5 million dine in for two for 10 meals in the first half of the year. sales rose 2.8 per cent to 4.3 billion, largely driven by growth outside Britain. BY jonathan prYnn index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html