Interest rate up | Wood orders slip | ITV ad rev falls
4.30pm: Market down as rates rise
The Bank of England has decided to raise interest rates by 0.25%, as expected, to 4.5%. It is the 12th consecutive monthly increase.The Monetary Policy Committee voted to raise the base rate to a 15-year high by a majority of seven to two. Full story here
The FTSE 100 fell after the Bank of England’s decision to raise interest rates and closed 10.75 points lower at 7,730.58.
Energy services engineer Wood Group, currently in talks on a potential $1.6bn takeover by private equity group Apollo Management Holdings, has posted an increase in first quarter revenue, but a slight dip in its order book.
The Aberdeen-based company said revenue came in at around $1.45bn, reflecting good momentum across all business units. Group adjusted core earnings was in line with expectations.
Its order book at 31 March was c.$5.7bn, slightly lower than at the end of the year and reflecting the phasing of large multi-year awards in operations.
The company holds its AGM today and will tell shareholders that while it remains mindful of the uncertain economic outlook, its expectations for 2023 remain unchanged.
“As outlined in March, performance for 2023 will be weighted to the second half of the year.”
As announced on 17 April, Apollo Management Holdings is required either to announce a firm intention to make an offer for Wood or to announce that it does not intend to make an offer by no later than 17 May.
ITV said total advertising revenue in the first three months of the year was down 10%, as expected, as it stuck to its longer term targets and said its new streaming service ITVX was performing well.
Carolyn McCall, ITV chief executive, said: “We are looking forward to Q3 with Love Island and the Rugby World Cup set to draw large broadcast and streaming audiences.
“ITV is successfully executing Phase Two of its More Than TV strategy, despite the current challenging macro and geopolitical environment, as we continue to satisfy the growing demand for content globally and the desire for advertisers to secure both mass reach and targeted digital audiences.”
FirstGroup has been stripped of the poorly-performing TransPennine rail franchise after passengers suffered months of disruption.
After the US inflation figures fell, attention will switch to the Bank of England which is expected to increase interest rates by 25 basis points to 4.5%, the 12th successive increase since December 2021.
US inflation fell last month to its lowest rate in two years. It was 4.9% in the 12 months to April, official figures show.
That was down from 5% in March, and marks the tenth month in a row that price rises have slowed.
Last week, the European Central Bank raised eurozone interest rates by 25 basis points, a slowdown from a 50 point hike previously, but it said there is still “more ground to cover” in the fight against inflation.
A day earlier, the US Federal Reserve announced a quarter-percentage-point lift, but strongly hinted of a pause thereafter.
The FTSE 100 was due to rise ahead of today’s announcement after closing 32 points lower at 7,732.09.
Wall Street gave a subdued response to the inflation figures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1%, the S&P 500 rose 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite jumped 1%.
Asia markets weakened. The Shanghai Composite was 0.1% lower, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was down 0.5% and in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.1%.