Market report

Speedy Hire lifted | Quilter chair | Barclays SME monitor


5pm: Markets edge higher

London traded in a fairly narrow band at the start of a shortened week and with Wall St closed for Memorial Day. The FTSE 100 ended the session 14.6 points higher at 7,600.06.

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “Despite chaotic scenes from airport check in desks which dominated social media over the weekend, the big take-away from that seems to have been that there is some seriously pent-up wanderlust.

“Both British Airways owner IAG and package-holiday specialist TUI climbed their respective FTSE indices today and even EasyJet steered clear of turbulence.

“People are so desperate to get away, to experience something denied to them for such a long period of time, they’re willing to forgive a few teething troubles, but airlines and airport operators need to get their houses in order before the big summer getaway begins in earnest.

“Retailer Ted Baker also made gains off the back of the news it could be close to agreeing a deal with US suitor Authentic Brands. Reports over the weekend suggest the Juicy Couture is in talks to buy the business but there are no guarantees the deal will ever get past the drawing board.”

9.30am: Markets rise

European markets opened on a stronger footing with tech stocks staging gains and China easing some of its Covid restrictions.

There was also an uplift from the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones ending their near two-month losing streak on Friday to post their strongest week since November 2020.

Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust benefited from the tech recovery, up 3.2% at 820p.

With US markets closed today for the Memorial Day holiday there will be thin volume.

The FTSE 100 was trading 24 points (0.3%) higher at 7,609.

7am: Speedy Hire ‘encouraged’

Speedy Hire, the tool hire firm, said adjusted profit before tax from continuing operations was up 72% to £30.1 million in the year to the end of March on a 16.3% rise in revenue to £381.7m.

The group is recommending a final dividend of 1.45p making a total dividend for the year of 2.20p and representing c.50% of adjusted EPS.

Russell Down, dhief executive, said: “We have made an encouraging start to FY2023 with volume growth and price increases more than offsetting cost pressures.”

7am: New Quilter chair

Wealth management business Quilter has appointed Glyn Barker to take over as chair from outgoing Ruth Markland.

Mr Barker, a former Berkeley Group chair, will become a non-executive director and as a member of its remuneration and its corporate governance and nominations committee effective on 1 June, before taking the chair on 7 September.

7am: New Foxtons CEO

Foxtons Group, the London estate agent, has appointed Guy Gittins group CEO with effect from 5 September. He joins from Chestertons, the London and international residential property specialist, where he is currently chief executive, and replaces Nic Budden, who has stepped down from the role he has held since 2014.

12.01am: Firms expecting revenue rise

About two-thirds (68%) of smaller firms in Scotland expect to see revenues rise this quarter when compared to the same period last year, according to the latest quarterly Barclays SME Barometer.

On average, Scottish SMEs expect to see a 10.4% rise between the months of April and June 2022 against the same period in 2021.

The findings contrast with the Scottish business monitor produced last week by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales suggesting business confidence in Scotland was the lowest in the UK.

This was related to the growing challenges businesses face, particularly on the supply-side and with recruitment, ICAEW said.

Global markets

Sentiment has been lifted by an imminent easing of Covid restrictions in Shanghai and hopes that the US Federal Reserve may pause its fiscal tightening efforts after interest rate increases in June and July

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended Friday 1.8% higher, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq surged 3.3%, ending a roller-coaster week on a high.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was up 2.3%, the Shanghai Composite was 0.5% higher, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was 1.9% higher.

Brent oil quoted at $119.92 a barrel early Monday, up from $117.73 late Friday.

Equity investors in London will be monitoring prices at Centrica, ITV and Royal Mail as the power group is poised for promotion to the FTSE 100 this week while the latter pair face demotion. Centrica’s interim results are scheduled for 28 July.

Baillie Gifford’s US Growth Trust is among the casualties of the flight from risky assets and is a contender to leave the FTSE 250.

Index changes will be determined by Tuesday’s closing prices.

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