UK unemployment and supermarket sales in focus on Tuesday

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UK unemployment figures will be a big focus on Tuesday, even more so after this evening’s big announcement from the Prime Minister on coronavirus second wave restrictions.


There will also be fresh data on the grocery retail sector from Kantar, which will bulk up a corporate diary that is fairly light on the day.


The only major UK economic indicator of the week, the unemployment rate is expected to rise to 4.3% for the three months to August from 4.1% as various support schemes start to expire and more people look for work.


The more timely claimant count rate and the jobless claims changes for September may be more revealing, as firms had to start to make a 10% contribution to the costs of staff on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the government furlough scheme that comes to a close until the end of October to be replaced by the less generous Job Support Scheme, which is only for firms told to close.


Employee numbers may drop 0.5% month-to-month in September after August’s 0.1% drop, said economists at Pantheon Macroeconomics, with range of indicators pointing to a surge in redundancies last month.


Supermarket sweep


The latest grocery market share figures and update on inflation from Kantar will cover the period ending October 4, coming a month after the data showed spending had been trimmed slightly by the launch of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, with online shopping growth slowing for the second month.


Four-week grocery sales growth decelerated to the slowest rate since April, the research showed, with lower supermarket alcohol sales one notable sign of the trend of people spending less time at home, though sales of personal grooming products were higher.


Other signs of a slight move towards normal shopping patterns as online grocery growth continued to slow, though at 12.5% of total sales and some 77% higher than a year ago still remains massively elevated.


Among the big four supermarkets, Wm Morrisons Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW) performed best, with sales up 12.9% over the 12-week period, increasing its market share up by 0.2 percentage points to 10.1%, followed by Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO), where sales grew 10.5% and its market share flat, while J Sainsbury PLC‘s (LON:SBRY) growth increased 8.0%.


Asda, which is being snapped up the British billionaire brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa, continued to lag.


Onthemarket is ontheschedule


Among the company news diary, Onthemarket PLC (LON:OTMP) will be publishing results for the six months to end July and should provide a perspective on the post-lockdown housing market boom.


It will be a tale of two halves, showing a hiatus in activity during lockdown followed by a sharp upturn after restrictions were eased and the government implemented initiatives to help the housing market.


The online property portal had GBP10mln in the bank at the end of August, up by GBP600,000 compared to the end of June, with GBP2.2mln of deferred creditor payments.


Investors will want to hear more on the record lead generation during August and how it can pan out during the winter, as well as the partnership with Taylor Wimpey.


Another focus will be the progress in signing up agents to paid listings contracts and attracting new business, as house broker Shore Capital noted COVID-19 will have been a catalyst for agents to review their portal choices and the value that these deliver.


“We believe this dynamic could accelerate the group’s already attractive medium-term growth potential – with its increasingly compelling and comprehensive offering, commitment to fair pricing and unique ability to offer equity to listing agents all positive contributory factors,” analysts commented.


Significant announcements on Tuesday October 13:


Trading updates: Sabre Insurance Group PLC (LON:SBRE)


Interims: Onthemarket PLC (LON:OTMP), Lidco PLC (LON:LID), BP Marsh & Co, PLC (LON:BPM)


Finals: Netcall PLC (LON:NET)


AGMs: APQ Global Limited (LON:APQ), Newmark Security PLC (LON:NWT)


Economic data: UK unemployment; US consumer price index

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