Market report

Moonpig deal | Kingfisher buyback | Ted Baker update


5pm: Biden lifts market

Markets were lifted after US President Joe Biden said he was considering lifting some Trump-administration trade tariffs imposed on China.

Mr Biden has faced growing calls to remove tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports. His comments Monday during a visit to Tokyo and a cut in import levies could ease rampant inflation in the US.

The president acknowledged the economic pain felt by American consumers, saying “this is going to take some time”, but he said a recession in the US was not inevitable.

Morning gains on Wall Street helped push the FTSE 100 index back above the 7,500 mark.

UK blue chips ended 123.46 points (1.7%) higher at 7,513.44, well above the day’s low of 7,389.98.

Greetings card retailer Moonpig rose 10% after unveiling a £124 million acquisition of Smartbox, which trades as Buyagift (see below).

B&Q owner Kingfisher closed up 2.2% after saying first-quarter sales were above pre-pandemic levels and unveiled a £300 million share buyback.

7am: Moonpig acquires Smartbox

Moonpig Group, the online greeting card and gifting platform in the UK and the Netherlands, is paying £124 million to acquire Smartbox Group, which operates two long-established brands, Buyagift and Red Letter Days.

The target brands have 3.3 million customers and have seen double digit revenue growth over last 10 years, with view to accelerate to mid-teens in the medium term.

7am: Ted Baker selects bidder

The board of fashion retailer Ted Baker has selected a preferred buyer and said the due diligence process is likely to take several weeks. 

It has confirmed that Sycamore Partners Management is no longer participating in the formal sale process.

7am: Kingfisher unveils buyback

B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher announced a £300 million shares buyback as it reported a fall in first-quarter sales.

The company said total group sales fell 5.8% to £3.2bn in the three months to 22 April against tough comparators last year when Covid lockdowns boosted revenues.

Kingfisher added that like-for-like sales fell 5.4% in the quarter but rose 16.2% on a three-year pre-pandemic basis.

The company said it had made a good start to the second quarter with like-for-like sales down 2.5% in the two weeks to May 14, but up 21.8% on a three-year basis.

7am: New chair at DeepMatter

DeepMatter Group, the Glasgow-based digital chemistry data and software company, has appointed Alan Aubrey as non-executive chairman. He takes over after the AGM on 27 May from Karen Bach, who is retiring from the board and leaving the group.

Full story here

7am: Parsley Box hires marketing director

Parsley Box, the Scottish ready meals distributor, has appointed Jo Coomber, formerly of the National Galleries of Scotland and Dobbies Garden Centres, as marketing director.

Full story here

Global markets

Analysts said that inflation and higher interest charges with the added complication of the Ukraine war continue to haunt global equity markets.

Wall Street futures are pointing to a healthy uptick for their opening but Asia’s markets were rattled by a record number of Covid-19 cases, stoking fears of further increases in restrictions.

There will be a further insight into the state of the US economy this week with the publication of first-quarter gross domestic product data, the Federal Reserve minutes and April ‘print’ for personal spending and income.

US President Joe Biden is visiting Japan for the first time to attend the Quad meeting. The Quad meetings bring together the leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the US.

Australia’s new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, will be heading to Tokyo after his Labor party won the Australia election over the weekend.

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