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Wall St lower on Fed warning | Beeks raises £15m | Iomart update

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10pm: Wall St lower on Fed warning

Wall Street’s main indexes fell on Tuesday, dragged by weakness in tech and other growth stocks, after comments from Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard spooked investors about potential aggressive actions by the central bank to control inflation.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq posted its biggest daily percentage drop in about a month, with declines in heavyweight stocks such as Apple and Amazon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8%, the S&P 500 lost 1.26% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.26%.

London holds firm

It’s been another volatile day for European markets amid plans for further sanctions on Moscow which would include banning coal imports, though not oil, observed Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst.

The oil price held fairly steady despite the day’s uncertainty, kept in check by more Covid concerns as a lockdown in Shanghai was extended. Brent crude was quoted at $107.07 a barrel.

European markets tumbled amidst concerns about how new sanctions on coal and ban Russian ships from entering EU ports will impact the European economy, but London markets recovered from earlier falls with the FTSE 100 bolstered by surging utilities. It closed 54.8 points higher at 7,613.72.

SSE shares hit a new record high, while National Grid rose 3.6% and United Utilities advanced 3.5%.

“Once again Elon Musk was a hot topic of conversation after Twitter’s boss used the platform to announce the Tesla boss had been appointed to the board” said Hewson. “There had been huge speculation about Mr Musk’s intentions after it emerged that he’s snapped up 9.2% of the company.

“There’s maverick and then there’s a loose cannon and Twitter investors might be wondering exactly which Musk will be sitting at the table, how great will his influence be and how closely will regulators be watching?”


7am: Beeks raises £15m

Gordon McArthur

Beeks Financial Cloud Group has raised total gross proceeds of approximately £15 million at a price of 165p per share from the issue of 9,090,910 new shares in a placing.

Gordon McArthur, the founder and chief executive, also sold 1,696,970 shares, raising £2.8 million, which reduced his overall stake to 37.6%.

The fundraising was significantly oversubscribed and a general meeting to authorise the issue will be held on 22 April.

Canaccord Genuity acted as nominated adviser and sole bookrunner in connection with the placing.

Gordon McArthur, Beeks CEO, commented: “With financial services organisations accelerating their cloud transition strategies, we see a huge opportunity ahead for our Private Cloud, Proximity Cloud and Exchange Cloud offerings, and are focused on the conversion of our record sales pipeline and execution of our product roadmap.”


7am: Iomart making progress

Glasgow-based cloud computing firm Iomart said it expects to deliver full-year financial results on 14 June in line with market expectations.

For the year to 31 March 2022, the group expects to report revenue of about £103 million (FY21: £111.9m), adjusted EBITDA of £38m (FY21: £41.4m) and adjusted profit before tax of £17m (FY21: £19.6m).

The board said renewal levels have improved in the second half, meaning that recurring revenue, which is c. 93% of full-year Group revenue, was more stable in the second half. The inflationary pressures being experienced across the UK business market are being monitored and addressed.

Reece Donovan, CEO, said: “I am pleased by the progress we have made during the year and reporting financial results in line with market expectations.

“We have launched a number of new solutions to the market, recently entered into an exciting alliance to accelerate our managed cyber security offering, reshaped the commercial team and invested in our customer service tools and resources.

“It is these steps, along with the on-going execution of our strategic plan, which gives us confidence that we will continue to be successful within the wider growing Cloud sector.”


7am: Moonpig remains strong

Online greeting card and gifting platform Moonpig said trading performance has remained strong and it now expects annual revenue in the financial year ending 30 April 2022 will be around £300 million, with the upgrade reflecting the temporary impact of Covid-19 on customer behaviour in late December and January. Expectations for underlying revenue in FY22 remain unchanged at approximately £265m.

Nickyl Raithatha, CEO, commented: “Today’s update reflects continued strong trading performance post-lockdowns, including a very successful UK Mothers’ Day, and we remain confident in the outlook for the year ahead.

“Moonpig Group has delivered a permanent step change in scale over the past two years, with a larger customer base displaying higher loyalty than pre-pandemic.

“The long-term opportunity remains vast, and we have never been in a better position to deliver against Moonpig Group’s strategy to become the ultimate gifting companion.”


7am: Speedy Hire in line

Speedy Hire, the provider of tools and equipment hire, and services to the construction, infrastructure and industrial markets, said it expects to report results for the year in line with the board’s expectations.

The group has seen a continuation of the positive trading momentum achieved throughout the year, with UK and Ireland hire revenue for the year c.5% ahead of FY2020. 

Hire revenue in Q4 FY2022 was c.7% ahead of the corresponding period in FY2021, which now represents a more meaningful comparator. The Group’s key end markets continue to deliver growth through demand-driven volume improvements, with better rates helping to mitigate inflationary cost pressures.

The investment in developing a retail business in partnership with B&Q has continued during the year and the group expects to have a presence in 38 B&Q stores and on B&Q’s website, diy.com, before Easter.


Global markets

Oil prices were higher this morning. Brent rose to $108.26 a barrel, up from $107.45 late Monday.

Financial markets in mainland China and Hong Kong were closed on Tuesday. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo and the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney were both 0.1% higher in late trade.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.3%, the S&P 500 added 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.9%.

Twitter jumped 27% following news that Tesla boss Elon Musk has taken just shy of a 10% stake in the micro-blogging platform. According to a regulatory filing, Musk now holds 73.5 million shares in Twitter, representing a 9.2% stake.



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