Vodafone Q3 | Wizz Air traffic | Google shares split
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5pm: Markets up ahead of bank rate decisions
The strong start to February continued with the FTSE 100 index closing up 47.22 points, or 0.6%, at 7,583 as attention turns to interest rate decisions from two major central banks on Thursday.
Ocado Group topped the risers, up 5.7%, after Credit Suisse double upgraded the online grocer to outperform. Auto Trader was 2.4% higher on another broker recommendation.
Vodafone Group finished 3.4% higher after the telecoms firm said it had enjoyed a solid quarter for business and promised to create value for shareholders. BT Group rose 1.5% in a positive read-across. Both companies are the subject of activist investor interest.
Brent crude oil was trading at $89.02 a barrel at the equities close, down from $89.50 at the close on Tuesday, as the latest Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting concluded.
The markets await a lunchtime decision tomorrow from the Bank of England which raised the interest rate to 0.25% from 0.10% in December and is tipped to raise it to 0.5%. The European Central Bank will make its rate decision on Thursday afternoon.
9.30am: Ocado boosts FTSE 100
The FTSE 100 advanced 0.4% to 7,565, led by Ocado which jumped 7.2% after a big ratings upgrade from Credit Suisse which believes the company’s improved technology system could result in deeper relations with existing clients.
Vodafone posted third quarter organic revenue growth of 3.7% to £11.7 billion (reported 4.3%).
Service revenue, which includes airtime usage, monthly access charges and roaming, climbed 2.7% (reported 3.1%). This is where Vodafone generates most of its revenue.
Chief executive Nick Read said : “Our team has delivered another solid quarter, demonstrating the sustainability of our growth strategy and medium-term ambition. This performance keeps us firmly on track to deliver FY22 results in line with the higher guidance we set out in November.
“We remain focused on our operational priorities to strengthen commercial momentum in Germany, accelerate our transformation in Spain and position Vodafone Business to maximise EU recovery funding opportunities.
“We are also committed to creating value for our shareholders through proactive portfolio actions and continuing to improve returns at pace.”
7am: Wizz Air
In January, Wizz Air carried 2,397,000 passengers at a load factor of 79.6%, representing a 318% increase compared with January 2021. Wizz Air continued to grow its network and improve its customer offering.
7am: Beeks contract and update
Beeks Financial Cloud, which provides connectivity for financial markets, has signed a $2.2 million contract over four years for its private cloud offering with one of the world’s largest foreign exchange brokers.
The Hillington-based company says it is another significant contract for the offering which was launched in August last year and is a new customer for Beeks, adding to its growing number of tier 1 financial services customers.
The contract came as the board said it now anticipates revenues for the year ended 30 June 2022 will be ahead of current market expectations.
Google shares jump on higher figures and stock split
Shares in Google parent Alphabet jumped 9% in extended trading after the tech giant reported better-than-expected results for its fourth quarter.
Net income came in at $20.64 billion against $15.28 billion last time on revenue of $75.3 billion.
Cloud revenue was up 45% while advertising revenue jumped 33%, with $8.63 billion coming from YouTube.
The company announced a 20-for-1 stock split to enable more investors to afford the shares.
Global equity markets have stabilised as inflation and interest rate rises are factored into prices. The Dow Jones closed up 0.78% whilst the S&P 500 notched 0.7% higher. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq advanced 0.75%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.68% while markets in mainland China, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong were closed on Wednesday for the Lunar New Year holidays.