LSE reports strong H1

Source: London Stock Exchange

London Stock Exchange plc (the Exchange) today issued a routine update ahead of the close period relating to the six months ending 30 September 2005.

Unless otherwise stated, the following commentary refers to the five months ended 31 August 2005 and, where appropriate, to the corresponding period last year.

In summary, the Exchange has made a very strong start to the financial year, benefiting from good momentum in all core business areas:

  • Total new issues up almost 50 per cent to 272
  • SETS bargains/day up 30 per cent to 200,000
  • Professional terminals at 84,000 - up 4,000 since August 2004 and 1,000 since June 2005

Issuer Services

With new issues totalling 272 (2004: 183), the five months to the end of August 2005 was the strongest period for new issue activity on the Exchange in over three years. This represented growth of almost 50 per cent on 2004, a period which itself saw new issues increase by over 100 per cent. At 46, the number of Main Market new issues was up 84 per cent on the previous year (2004: 25), while the average size of a Main Market IPO increased to £353m (2004: £210 million). AIM continued its record of excellent growth with 226 new issues, 43 per cent ahead of the previous year (2004: 158).

International new issues on the Main Market doubled and AIM international new issues increased to 46 from 21 in the comparable period, reflecting the Exchange's marketing to overseas companies.

The total number of companies on the Exchange's markets at 31 August 2005 was 3,012 (2004: 2,762), of which 1,292 were on AIM (2004: 917).

Broker Services

The period was characterised by record levels of activity in both value and volume traded. Total equity bargains increased 31 per cent to 33.4 million (2004: 25.5 million), principally driven by continued growth in SETS volumes. The average number of equity bargains per day was 315,000 (2004: 245,000), an increase of 29 per cent, and the total value of equity bargains rose to £2.0 trillion (2004: £1.8 trillion).

Average daily SETS bargains increased 30 per cent to 200,000 (2004: 154,000). A new monthly record was established in July when average daily SETS bargains reached 222,000. This strong growth in SETS bargains reflects the increasing impact of derivatives-based business originating in the broader UK market and the increased contribution from SETSmm, the hybrid electronic order book, which averaged 27,800 bargains per day (2004: 12,800).

The total value of SETS bargains increased 22 per cent to £425bn (2004: £347bn), while the average value of a SETS bargain decreased by 9 per cent to £20,000 (2004: £22,000). Notwithstanding significant volume increases, average yield per SETS bargain has remained steady, broadly in line with levels seen in the second half of 2004/05.

The number of off book bargains decreased 2 per cent to an average of 45,000 bargains per day (2004: 46,000), while the daily average number of international bargains for the period rose to 71,000 (2004: 45,000).

Information Services

The number of terminals receiving real time Exchange data continues to show steady improvement, standing at 97,000 at the end of the period (30 June 2005: 96,000; 31 August 2004: 91,000). The number of terminals attributable to higher yield professional users was 84,000, an increase of 4,000 on the previous year (31 August 2004: 80,000) and up 1,000 on the end of the first quarter (30 June 2005: 83,000).

Proquote, the Exchange's provider of financial market software and data services, had 2,800 screens, up 500 on same time last year (31 August 2004: 2,300).

Derivatives Services

The total number of contracts traded on EDX London increased 6 per cent to 8.4 million (2004: 7.9 million). Average contracts per day increased 3 per cent to 78,000 (2004: 76,000).

Current Trading

Commenting on current trading, Clara Furse, Chief Executive, said: "We have continued to see good momentum in all core business areas: SETS trading volumes have shown strong growth, with record performances during the period; primary market activity has been buoyant; and the number of professional terminals has shown further improvement. These trends underpin our expectation of an excellent trading performance."

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