Markets report

EasyJet forecasts loss | SMS CFO change | Hays upbeat


5pm: Pound and FTSE 100 up

Markets were encouraged by talk of a u-turn by Prime Minister on more of the mini-budget.

The pound jumped 0.9% against the dollar to trade at $1.12 the FTSE 100 managed to eke out a gain at the end of the day, closing 24.12 points higher at 6,850.27. Full story here

2.30pm: US inflation tops forecast

US headline CPI inflation rose 8.2% year-on-year in September (versus consensus expectations of 8.1%), compared to 8.3% in August. 

Rob Clarry, Investment Strategist at UK wealth manager Evelyn Partners, says: “Today’s inflation report surprised to the upside, derailing hopes for a Fed pivot in the near-term.

Wall Street opened sharply lower on the news. The S&P 500 collapsed 2.7%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 2.9% and Dow Jones dropped 1.65%.

7am: EasyJet losses forecast

EasyJet holidaymakers

EasyJet is forecasting a headline annual loss before tax of between £170m and £190m after cancelled flights in spring offset a strong summer season. Group headline EBIT is expected to be break even.

The airline said capacity is up 30% year-on-year to around 20 million seats and about 83% of FY19.

The impact of Omicron, war in Ukraine and industry-wide issues experienced this summer all affected operational performance during the financial year, it said.

7am: SMS CFO leaves

Smart Metering Systems, which installs and manages smart meters, said Gavin Urwin will step down as CFO and as an executive director on 1 December to take up another opportunity.

Gail Blain, currently group financial controller, has been announced as the new CFO and as an executive director. She has been with the group since 2016, is a chartered accountant and previously worked at Aggreko and BAA.

Mr Urwin will remain available to the group until 31 March and support a handover period.

7am: Hays

Recruitment firm Hays says it is looking optimistically at getting through economic volatility after reporting a record quarter in which fees rose 15%.

In a trading update for the three months to the end of September, the firm said that fees in permanent placings were up 16% and temporary 14%, while its German division showed 26% growth.

However, group chief executive Alistair Cox said that economic conditions had begun to bite in the quarter as key markets showed signs of a slowdown.

Global markets

London’s blue chip FTSE 100 index fell 59.08 points, or 0.9% yesterday to close at 6,826.15

It was a sixth successive daily loss for the benchmark, which has registered just two gains so far in the fourth quarter.

Investors nervously await this afternoon’s key US inflation data which follows the release of the latest Federal Reserve meeting minutes.

The data may help shape the central bank’s policy moves between now and the end of the year.

Annual US inflation is expected to have slowed to 8.1% in September from 8.3% in August. August’s figure had come in ahead of consensus of 8.1%.

In New York on Wednesday, both the Nasdaq Composite and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.1%. The S&P 500 lost 0.3%.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was 0.5% lower in late trade. The Shanghai Composite was flat, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was down 0.9%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney fell 0.1%.

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