Trending tickers: Barclays l Asos l Costco l ASML

 Online fashion retailer Asos said it has reduced its stock levels by 30% as customer numbers fall. Photo: Getty.
Online fashion retailer Asos said it has reduced its stock levels by 30% as customer numbers fall. Photo: Getty (Jeremy Moeller via Getty Images)

Barclays PLC (BARC.L)

Shares in Barclays were up 3.15% on Tuesday afternoon putting it at the top of the FTSE (^FTSE) basket after the bank announced plans to close thousands of bank accounts outside of the UK.

Barclays gave customers six months notice in writing to move their money before their accounts were closed.

The bank said global accounts can still be opened but they will face a £40 monthly charge if they have a balance below £100,000.

Meanwhile, customers living abroad with a loan or mortgage with Barclays won’t be affected. However, they will not be able to apply for a new loan or remortgage with the bank while registered outside of the UK.

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“Banks may set their own requirements on country of residence for account holders and must comply with local law and regulation when serving customers outside the UK," a spokesman for the Financial Conduct Authority told The Telegraph.

“Whether or not banks decide to extend services to customers outside of the UK is a commercial decision for them, but we expect them to treat their customers fairly, comply with equalities legislation, and provide adequate notice to the customer if they decide to close their account.”

Asos Plc (ASC.L)

Shares in Asos fell 1.60% on the London Stock Exchange after the online fashion retailer shared a trading update that failed to cheer investors.

Asos said it expects earnings in the second half to come in towards the bottom of its guided range for between £40m and £60m and reported a 15% drop in fourth quarter total group revenue with declines in the UK, EU, US, and the rest of the world.

“Its adjusted gross margin rose by around 150 basis points year-on-year in the second half, falling short of guidance for an increase of 200 basis points. But inventory fell by around 30% year-on-year, ahead of forecasts,” Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said.

“Asos has been focusing on its ‘Driving Change’ agenda having launched a major business overhaul last October. It has been trying to manage inventory and save costs. With inflation coming down, Asos has benefitted from lower freight and duty costs,” she added.

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However, a backdrop of a weak consumer, elevated inflation and higher interest rates are taking their toll on sales with a weak performance in July and August and a "deterioration in the UK clothing market".

“Asos has been trying to draw in customers by investing in promotional activity to help reduce stock and combat the challenging trading environment and macroeconomic headwinds. However, that investment has impacted margins, which came in short of guidance,” Scholar said.

Shares in the company have fallen sharply so far this year, down by around 30% since the start of January.

Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST)

Investors will also be keeping across Costco’s stock ahead of its earnings update later on Tuesday.

The wholesaler announced plans this week to offer US members health check-ups for $29 each, in partnership with Sesame.

The move follows similar steps taken by Walmart (WMT), Amazon (AMZN), CVS (CVS), and Walgreens (WBA).

Ahead of its latest financial update, the stock is poised to open marginally lower. However, the company’s share price is up by 5.3% over the past three months.

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“Costco Wholesale has a three-year median payout ratio of 26%, which implies that it retains the remaining 74% of its profits. This suggests that its dividend is well covered, and given the decent growth seen by the company, it looks like management is reinvesting its earnings efficiently,” Simply Wall Street said.

Costco has paid dividends over a period of at least ten years which means that the company is pretty serious about sharing its profits with shareholders.

“Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 23%,” the analysts added.

ASML Holding N.V. (ASML)

Shares in ASML were seen lower on Tuesday on Wall Street as the Dutch semiconductor equipment maker announced plans to set up a base in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido to support production at a chip plant for Rapidus.

It means the European chip supplier will expand its workforce in Japan by 40% by around 2028.

However, it comes as geopolitical risks continue to rise against a backdrop of US-China tensions, which has seen tech companies launch new operations in Japan.

Meanwhile, on 19 July, the company reported €6.9bn net sales and €1.9bn net income in Q2 2023.

ASML president and chief executive Peter Wennink said: "Our second-quarter net sales came in at €6.9bn, at the high end of our guidance, with a gross margin of 51.3%, higher than guided, primarily driven by additional DUV immersion revenue in the quarter.

"Our customers across different market segments are currently more cautious due to continued macro-economic uncertainties, and therefore expect a later recovery of their markets. Also, the shape of the recovery slope is still unclear. However, our strong backlog of around €38bn provides us with a good basis to navigate these short-term uncertainties.”

Third-quarter net sales are expected to be between €6.5bn and €7.0bn with a gross margin of around 50%.

Watch: Costco to offer virtual healthcare visits for $29 in new partnership

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