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Purplebricks loss | Barratt deal | Omega | Craneware

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5pm: FTSE 100 in subdued form

The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.02% at 7,464.37.

Vodafone Group was up 1.88% after reports that it was being targeted by the activist investor Cevian, putting management under pressure to revamp its struggling performance.

The Sweden-based investment firm is said to have built holdings in the telecoms communications giant in recent months, whose share price had almost halved in value since 2018.

Educational publisher Pearson rose 1.48% after saying it had bought the remaining 80% of skills verification operator Credly it did not already own, for an undisclosed sum.

Barratt Developments was 0.99% higher after announcing the acquisition of Gladman Developments in a £250m deal.

BT Group was 0.74% lower after it emerged that rival Virgin Media O2 was looking to expand its fibre network through a joint venture.

Supermarkets were in the red, with J Sainsbury down 2.81% and Tesco, which announced the closure of its Jack’s chain, was 2.1% lighter.


11am: Barratt in £250m deal for land promoter

Barratt Developments has acquired land promotor Gladman Developments in a £250m deal on a debt free and cash free basis.

Cheshire-based Gladman operates as a land promoter in the UK with particular strength in the south of England.

Full story here


9.30am: Vodafone talk lifts index

Blue chips began the week positively, as forecast, with the FTSE 100 up 4 points at 7,470.

“A decent start to the week for markets in Europe and Asia hopefully sets the tone for a better five-day trading session for investors, given the carnage we’ve seen for most of January,” says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“Chatter about Vodafone being the next activist investor target put the telecoms company at the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard, with several tech-related names close behind.

“The fact that Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and Ocado are pushing ahead might suggest investors haven’t completely gone off tech investments.

“Some of the value stocks which have done well during the recent market rotation were among the biggest fallers on Monday, including Imperial Brands and Anglo American.

“However, it is far too early to firmly state the value rally is over, particularly as we would need to see significantly more than just a day’s trading to define a trend.

“The big event on the calendar this week will be the Bank of England’s interest rate decision, where it is almost certainly going to raise rates. This is widely expected by the market and unlikely to prompt any volatility among UK stocks unless the central bank is aggressive with the amount by which it puts up rates.”


7am: Purplebricks loss

Purplebricks

Online estate agency Purplebricks posted a first half loss of £20.2 million, including a £3.6m provision for potential claims arising from processing issues in its lettings business.

There was also £2.7m relating to impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets in the lettings business, and a charge of £7.3m arising from de-recognition of deferred tax assets.

Instructions fell by 38% to 21,131 (H1 21: 34,150), but average revenue per instruction (ARPI) increased by 15% to £1,642, driven by higher attachment rates, pricing optimisation and phasing of higher conveyancing income.

Full story here


7am: Omega fundraising

Omega, the Scottish medical diagnostics company, has confirmed speculation that it is in discussions with certain investors and shareholders regarding a potential equity fundraising.

Full story here


7am: Craneware doubles revenue

Group revenues at Scottish health billing software firm Craneware more than doubled in the six months to the end of December.

In a trading update it said the results will include a five-month contribution from Sentry Data Systems, acquired last July, and are in line with management’s expectations.

Revenue rose 110% to approximately $80m with an adjusted EBITDA increase of 75% to over $23m.

Keith Neilson, CEO, said: “Our aim is to transform the business of US healthcare. The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of usable financial and operational data and it is expected this realisation will drive future investment by hospitals. 

“Through our increased scale and data sets, we are even better placed to provide innovative new ways to measurably impact operational and financial performance and are increasingly confident and energised by the opportunity ahead.”


7am: Ryanair plunges to loss

Ryanair saw losses of €96million (£80million) in the final three months of 2021, with the budget airline warning it would continue to need to discount fares in the coming months amid a ‘hugely uncertain outlook’. 

Europe’s largest carrier by passenger numbers, reiterated its forecast loss for its full financial year ending 31 March at €250million-€450million.


Global markets

London was expected to recover some of Friday’s losses by taking a lead from US stock futures and Asia, where the markets opened the new week in positive territory.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo closed up 1.1%, the Hang Seng Index rose 1.1% in an abbreviated trading session on Monday ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday. Financial markets in Shanghai are closed all week.

Brent crude broke through $91 amid concerns over Russia’s threats to Ukraine.

Updates are due from Shell, BT, Virgin Money and Vodafone, but the main focus of the week will be on the Bank of England which is expected to raise the interest rate to 0.5%.



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