Markets: Live

Frasers defies downturn | STV-ITV digital deal


5pm: Recession overhangs market

Recession fears continued to weigh on sentiment and the FTSE 100 closed down 0.2% at 7,472.17.

Sports Direct and House of Fraser owner Frasers Group slumped as it posted a jump in interim profits but warned over a challenging backdrop.

On the upside, infrastructure group Balfour Beatty rallied after saying annual profit was set to be ahead of expectations due to positive net interest income and lower tax charges.

“With relatively few economic announcements today, attention is likely to turn to producer prices and consumer sentiment data from the US tomorrow, ,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

“These should help set the scene ahead of next week’s decision from the US Federal Reserve. It is widely expected, though not guaranteed, to reduce the pace of rate hikes from 75 basis points to 50 basis points.

7am: Frasers

House of Fraser Glasgow

Frasers posted a 38.8% rise in adjusted first-half profit to £267.1m, defying a downturn across the wider retail sector and allowing it to “remain confident” in its financial guidance for the full year. Revenue rose 12.7% to £2.64 billion, largely because of acquisitions.

FTSE-100 listed Frasers, formerly Sports Direct, said it still expected full-year adjusted profit before tax of £450-500m, up from the £348m in 2021-22. It will invest £600m in a distribution centre and offices in Coventry.

“Whilst the macroeconomic environment is clearly challenging and the backdrop for the coming year is hard to predict with any certainty, we have strong strategic and trading momentum behind us,” the group said.

Investors have been rewarded with a 16% uplift in the shares this year.

The board has decided not to declare an interim dividend

Non-executive chair David Daly said: “It is pleasing to see that the Government has finally decided to address the outdated business rates issue in April 2023 including addressing the detrimental transitional relief regime.

“The whole retail industry, including ourselves, have been asking for this recalibration for several years and this review is strongly welcomed by Frasers Group.”

… more follows

7am: STV and ITV partnership

ITV and STV have announced an enhanced strategic partnership around content sharing and advertising sales that creates incremental digital value for both companies and aligns their interests in the streaming age.

The long-term agreement will see STV’s streaming service, STV Player, take exclusive Scottish rights for a range of ITVX original and premiere content over the coming years. 

ITV’s sales team will take on exclusive responsibility for selling all digital VOD and simulcast advertising inventory on STV Player from 2023, immediately extending ITV’s sales reach and allowing STV to benefit from ITV’s scale in the UK market.

As part of the agreement STV will also join ITV’s addressable advertising platform, Planet V, allowing advertisers to access STV’s inventory alongside ITV’s unparalleled combination of mass simultaneous reach and data-driven, targeted advertising. Planet V is already used by all the major advertising agencies.

The new arrangements build on STV and ITV’s existing contractual relationships which remain in place. Under these arrangements, ITV will continue to represent STV for linear national advertising and STV will continue to be responsible for all Scottish advertising. STV Player will also continue to be available to viewers across the UK with its extensive library of third-party content.  

STV chief executive Simon Pitts said: “This exciting new partnership significantly strengthens STV and ITV’s digital businesses for the streaming age. It’s great news for Scottish viewers who will be able to access a huge array of new UK original content for free on STV Player.”  

Kelly Williams, ITV’s managing director, commercial, said: “ITV and STV have been close partners for over 50 years and this new deal makes that partnership fit for the digital age.

“We are delighted to be able to offer the market for the first time, and in one place, the ability to buy the mass reach of linear advertising coupled with addressable streaming inventory across the entire UK ITV/STV network.

“STV joining ITV’s addressable advertising platform Planet V is an important step in the development of the platform which is already used by all the major advertising agencies.”

7am: Murgitroyd acquisition

Murgitroyd, the intellectual property protection business, has acquired TLIP. The move is Glasgow-based Murgitroyd’s fourth acquisition in two years.

Full story here

Global markets

Wall Street ended mostly lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average marginally higher, the S&P 500 down 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.5%.

Sterling was quoted at $1.2196 early today, unchanged from the London equities close on Wednesday.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was down 0.4%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.1%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 3%.

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