Market report

EasyJet loss | Craneware ahead | Walmart alert


5pm: Traders on gas and interest rate alert

Investors fretted over gas supplies and recessionary pressures, though London’s FTSE 100 limited losses elsewhere and closed flat, helped by impressive earnings updates from contract caterer Compass and consumer goods firm Unilever. Rising Brent prices boosted oil majors.

The FTSE 100 was off by just 0.02 of a point at 7,306.28.

Shares in Wickes ended 18% lower in London as the DIY chain warned of “signs of softening” in the market.

Newspaper publisher Reach sank 26% as the Daily Record, Mirror, Daily Star and Daily Express owner warned of high newsprint cost and said revenues had slowed against strong comparatives last year.

Group revenue fell 1.6% while adjusted operating profit came in at £47.2m, down 31.5% (£21.7m); reflecting “unprecedented increase in newsprint cost” which was up c.65% on a like-for-like volume basis. Full story here

The pound was quoted at $1.2021 at the time of the London equities close on Tuesday, down from $1.2041 on Monday while the euro was priced at $1.0120, down sharply from $1.0215 as recession lurked in Germany.

US traders are expecting the Federal Reserve to raise US interest rates by just 75 basis points – which is not as bad as the full percentage point priced in just a few weeks ago. A verdict is due tomorrow.

7am: easyJet loss

Disrupted flights have sent easyJet to a £114 million third quarter loss.

The airline said the “unprecedented ramp up” across the aviation industry after the easing of travel restrictions, combined with a “tight” labour market, cost it £133 million.

EasyJet said it had been able to operate 95% of its planned schedule during the quarter, with passenger numbers increasing to 22 million from just 3 million a year earlier.

Group revenue increased to almost £1.8 billion from £213m.

7am: Drax accelerates green plans

Power generator Drax said it is accelerating its investment in renewable generation, having recently submitted planning applications at Drax Power Station and for the expansion of Cruachan Pumped Storage Power Station in Scotland. Full story here

7am: Craneware ahead

Software company Craneware said it expects to report a robust annual performance following the acquisition of Sentry Data Systems in July 2021. Full story here

7am: New Rolls-Royce CEO

Rolls-Royce has appointed Tufan Erginbilgic chief executive to succeed Warren East from 1 January.

Mr Erginbilgic, who has a background in engineering, has built his career in international business including over 20 years with BP, with five years as part of its executive team. Full story here

Global markets – Walmart warning

US retail giant Walmart has issued a profits warning for the second time since May, as the soaring cost of food and fuel hits customer spending.

The company says it now expects profits to fall by as much as 13% this year. Its shares fell 10%, dragging down rival retailers Amazon and Target.

Amazon raised the price of its Prime service for UK customers for the first time since 2014 because of “increased inflation and operating costs”. Prime offers unlimited delivery of products, and entertainment streaming services.

US traders are looking ahead to Wednesday’s update from the Federal Reserve following its two-day policy meeting, with economists widely expecting the central bank to announce a three-quarter point interest rate hike. GDP data follows on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.28%, as the S&P 500 added 0.13%, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.43%.

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