The FTSE 100 is up 0.3 per cent in early trading. Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are Phoenix Group, AO World, Revolution Beauty, Drax and Alliance Witan. Read the Wednesday 26 June Business Live blog below.

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More than half of homes are still NOT energy efficient, says Rightmove

More than half of homes are not energy efficient potentially adding thousands of pounds to household bills, a new study by Rightmove claims.

At least 18million homes have an Energy Performance Rating of D or below, according to the property portal, which equates to 55 per cent of the total housing stock.

Phoenix Group eyes sale of over-50s specialist SunLife

Phoenix Group is considering selling its SunLife business after deciding it was ‘no longer core’ to its operations.

The FTSE 100 company bought the division from AXA in 2016, along with the French insurance giant’s non-platform investment and pensions arm, AXA Wealth, as part of a £375million deal.

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Nvidia’s sell-off is a reminder share prices don’t soar forever

The rise of Nvidia to become the world’s most valuable company turned this little understood chip designer and its inspirational founder Jensen Huang into the ‘Swifties’ of tech.

Share markets are unforgiving and often irrational places where the herd instinct can get the better of fundamentals.

Gen Z and Millennials fall for scams more than any other age group

The idea that tech-savvy youngsters are less likely to fall victim to scams online is a misconception, new figures suggest.

Over the last 12 months, Gen Z and Millennials accounted for 65 per cent of scams reported, data from money app Revolut reveals – with a scam expert putting it down to the fact they do more of their banking online.

England’s biggest winemaker Chapel Down puts itself up for sale

Britain’s biggest winemaker could be sold as it tries to meet booming demand for English fizz.

Chapel Down has launched a strategic review to explore ways to find fresh funding to pay for its ambitious growth plans.

MARKET REPORT: Nvidia shares recover after $577bn sell-off

Shares in artificial intelligence chip designer Nvidia rose nearly 6 per cent after a three-day rout that saw $557billion (£440billion) wiped off its value.

On a day of much-needed relief for investors with Nvidia stock or funds that hold the firm, the shares reached almost $125, nudging it back towards a market capitalisation of $3 trillion (£2.4 trillion).

Airbus profits warning knocks more than £11bn off European aerospace stocks

‘AO World can now move on to the next phase of its development’

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor:

‘With much of the heavy lifting now completed in revitalising the business, AO World can now move on to the next phase of its development, although its mobile operations will need some care and attention.

‘The unit is currently loss-making due to soft consumer demand and a fall in connections/

‘While the business represents a relatively small part of the overall group income, AO World is continuing to run with its potential and in an effort to provide additional sales channels, the group acquired two web domain names in the period, with the strategic focus being on selling its full range of its products to its customers.’

EMMA JONES: The small business vote is worth politely fighting for

The dust may not have had that much time to settle on the party manifestos, but small businesses have already worked out that they will be required to do much of the heavy lifting required to pay for them.

With economic growth and wealth creators put front and centre of the major party pleas, the UK’s self-employed, start-up and small business community are ready to place their vote with the party they think is going to put fixing the economy right at the top of their list of priorities.

Vauxhall threatens to pull plug on UK car making amid row over EV sales targets

The owner of Vauxhall has warned it could stop making cars in the UK amid a row over electric vehicle sales targets.

Stellantis – one of the world’s biggest car makers – has threatened to close its plants in Ellesmere Port in Cheshire and Luton over government quotas for zero-emission vehicles. The company employs 2,500 staff across the two sites.

In a dramatic escalation of tensions between the manufacturer and ministers, Stellantis UK boss Maria Grazia Davino put the Government on notice, saying the decision will be made in ‘less than a year’.

Revolution Beauty lifted by cost cuts

Cosmetics brand Revolution Beauty returned to profit last year as the company sets its sights on a makeover under new management following a turbulent two years.

The firm reported a pre-tax profit of £11.4million for the year to the end of February, up from a loss of £33.9million the prior year.

Sales edged up by just 2 per cent year on year to total £191.3 million, which it said included the impact of clearing unwanted stock to focus on its core products.

Lauren Brindley, former Walgreens vice president who was appointed Revolution’s chief executive in August, said the past year had been one of ‘great strategic and financial progress following two challenging years’.

The company was thrown into crisis in 2022 over accounting mishaps, which led to an ongoing dispute with its former boss.

AO World profits beat forecasts

AO World profits beat forecasts last year as the British online consumer electrical retailer’s plan to focus on efficiency kicked in, and it said it expected it to grow by at least 6 per cent this year despite the tough economy.

AO, which sells washing machines, fridge freezers, cookers, TVs, laptops and mobile phones across the UK, posted an adjusted pretax profit of £34million for the 12 months to the end of March, compared to guidance for it to come in at the top end of a £28million to £33million range.

The group has forecast profit in the range of £36million to £4 million, on double-digit revenue growth.

The company, which has a 15 per cent market share of the domestic appliance market in the UK, exited the German market in 2022 and has over the last year cut costs, removed lower value products from its range and introduced delivery charges as part of a plan to improve profitability.

AO said it was confident of further profit growth in the medium-term despite what it called ‘ongoing macro-economic challenges’ following two years of high inflation.

Morrisons battles Aldi and Lidl with 400 new convenience stores

Morrisons is opening more convenience stores as its price war with Aldi and Lidl shows signs of paying off.

The supermarket group said it intends to open around 400 more Morrisons Daily shops to hit a total of 2,000 in 2025.

Phoenix weighs SunLife sale

Insurance firm Phoenix Group is exploring a potential sale of its over-50s specialist SunLife business after receiving expressions of interest from potential buyers.

Phoenix told investors it had concluded that SunLife, which reported profit after tax of £16million in 2023, ‘is no longer core to the delivery’ of the group’s ‘vision of becoming the UK’s leading retirement savings and income business’.

It added: ‘The Board has therefore decided to begin a sale process, having received a number of initial expressions of interest from third parties. However, there can be no certainty at this stage that a disposal will occur.’

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