Good morning, it's Paul here, with Thursday's SCVR.

Estimated time of completion today is 2pm - there are lots of announcements, so I might possibly defer a couple until tomorrow.
EDIT at 14:22 - today's report is now finished.

Middle East tensions - the risk of all-out war between USA & Iran seems to be receding. Tehrans's "firework display" (as one newspaper put it) which doesn't seem to have actually killed any Americans, allows it to save face & back down. No doubt lower level tensions & deniable attacks are likely to continue, but for now anyway this is going down my list of worries in respect of the stock market. 

Early snippets (pre market open)

Marks and Spencer (LON:MKS) - Q3/Xmas update looks OK. Eked out +0.2% LFL sales. Full year guidance unchanged, which in current circumstances is not bad at all. Decent yield of almost 5%. Turnaround happening I think, but very slow. Shorts are wrong on this  - I see MKS as a long-term winner, due to: strength of food offering (best there is), upside from Ocado partnership selling food online, highly cash generative still, store closures should greatly boost profits because of eliminating losses but also adds +20% sales to nearest remaining store. I reckon this share could gradually recover in 2020, maybe to c.300p?

EDIT at 08:38: the market doesn't seem to share my sanguine view on this, with the shares down 8% to 200p at the time of writing. I'm tempted to open a new long position at that level, will do some more work on it later today, once this report is out of the way.  On the downside, the turnaround is a long-term thing, and have I got the patience to sit & wait? There might be better uses for my cash in the meantime maybe?  End of edit.

Card Factory (LON:CARD) - (I am long this share - looks like I jumped the gun!) - a mild profit warning today. LFL sales only slightly down YTD at -0.6%. However, when last reported, this was +0.7% YTD. This implies a negative performance in Q4 to date, of maybe  -3-5%-ish? I don't like the way the company has obscured this by not revealing Q4 performance separately - a poor show. Revised…

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