Market report

Quiz Clothing sees return to profit | Peel Hunt positive


5pm: Blue chips end week on high

The FTSE 100 finished the week on a positive note, up 22.22 points at 7,537.9 points.

Shares in Glasgow-based Quiz Clothing soared 4.75p (44.19%) to 15.5p after the fashion chain said it was expecting to report its first profit in three years

Miners Anglo AmericanRio Tinto and Glencore were on the front foot, rising 2.44%, 2.37% and 1.52%, respectively.

Taylor Wimpey gave up most of its earlier gains to finish up 0.42%, while Persimmon dipped below the waterline by the close to end the day 0.14% weaker.

2.30pm: US payroll figure below forecast

US payrolls rose by less than expected in March but underscored the Federal Reserve’s desire to quickly withdraw economic stimulus by raising interest rates.

Employers added 431,000 jobs in March, the Labour Department reported, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.6% from 3.8% in February.

At the opening bell on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.18% the S&P 500 was 0.22% higher while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.34%.

9.30am: Markets await US data and Putin’s next move

The FTSE 100 was 33 points higher at 7,547.95, though oil giants Shell and BP were held back as crude prices fell in response to US president Joe Biden ordering the release of one million barrels per day from the country’s strategic reserve for six months to bring down prices.

Having touched $139 a barrel, Brent crude futures are now just over $104, described by Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, as “still a high price [for corporates] to stomach”.

Investors were also waiting to see whether Russian president Putin will cut off Europe’s gas supplies if countries refuse to pay in roubles, as he threatened on Thursday.

Earlier, data out of China showed the Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell in March as it fastest pace in two years, as a resurgence in Covid cases and the conflict in Ukraine weighed.

In London equity markets, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon were among the biggest risers, recovering after the housebuilding sector took a beating in the last quarter.

7am: Quiz positive


Fashion retailer Quiz said it expects a return to profitability this year as the positive sales momentum during the Christmas trading period continued through the final quarter.

Sales grew across its store and concession portfolio as well as its e-commerce website, and resulted in like-for-like revenues broadly consistent with those generated in FY 2019, prior to the impact of COVID-19.

Total FY 2022 group revenue is expected to be ahead of expectations at approximately £78m, it said in an update on trading to the end of March.

It said it is pleased with the gross margin generated across the year, and that the gross margin recorded in the last quarter was consistent with the same period in FY 2019.

This was driven by strong full-price sell through its trademark occasion wear and dressy casual wear products in response to the increased prevalence of social occasions such as weddings, and holidays compared to the previous year.

The board anticipates an EBITDA of no less than £4.3m and a profit before tax of no less than £0.5m.

7am: Peel Hunt reports strong pipeline

Investment bank Peel Hunt said trading performance has been ahead of revised analyst expectations, following a strong end to the year from is execution & trading business. As a result, revenue for the full year is expected to be around £131m.

Investment Banking delivered record revenues for the year, despite the slow-down in activity across global capital markets in Q4 FY22 as a result of rising inflation and interest rates, and the war in Ukraine. 

Research and distribution performed in line with expectations and execution & trading volumes and activity have remained in line with expectations at a significantly higher level to the pre pandemic run rate.

The company said its pipeline of investment banking deals remains strong, “albeit there is heightened execution and timing risk in the current environment”.

The number of retained corporate clients continues to grow, with 19 new clients added during the financial year.

Global markets

Markets reacted quickly to Joe Biden’s release of one million barrels of oil a day with crude prices dropping about 4% in Thursday trading to under $104 a barrel.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.56%, the S&P 500 was down 1.57%, while the Nasdaq Composite was 1.54% lower.

Investors will look toward today’s jobs report for more confirmation of labour market strength and insight into the possible path of monetary policy by the US central bank.

The US is expected to have added 490,000 jobs in March, according to FXStreet consensus, which would be down from 678,000 in February. The data is due out at 1330 BST.

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