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Pets At Home sees growth | Henry Boot | AJ Bell

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5pm: Market lower

Continuing worries over the need for more interest rates to burst the inflation bubble saw the FTSE 100 follow yesterday’s 135 points fall with a further 56.23 points slide to 7,570.87.


7am: Pets At Home

Pets At Home continues to benefit from a rise in pet ownership. The company, which leads the £7.2 billion UK pet care market with a 24% share, said it expects its 2024 underlying profit before tax to come in at £136 million, in line with analysts’ consensus.

It said it would target a 10% profit growth in the medium term after it announced a share buyback programme worth £50 million.

The company plans to build a pet care platform to integrate its products and services, and invest further in its pet care centres, it added.


7am: Henry Boot

House buyers are returning to the market after a downturn in demand from Q4 22, although the selling season through Spring and Summer remains important, said Henry Boot in a pre-AGM statement.

“Unfortunately, delays within the UK planning system continue, with the business achieving planning permission on 379 plots. Whilst this is frustrating, it does mean our 7,910 plots with planning will be in demand,” it said.

It added that the Build-to-Rent (BtR) market remains strong in terms of customer demand and investors are again looking to fund development.   

Tim Roberts, chief executive, said: “We have started the year well and following the uncertain economic backdrop to the final quarter of 2022, there are growing signs of recovery in our three key markets.

“We expect this to continue, and for us to have a busy second half of the year. We also continue to make progress against our medium-term strategic targets.”


7am: AJ Bell

Retail investment platform AJ Bell said profits had soared 61%  in the first half of the year after a leap in customers onto its platform.

The firm said revenues had jumped 37% to £103.6m in the six months to the end of March while pre-tax profits surged to £41.9m, up from £26.1m in the same period last year.

Assets under administration were 7% higher at £68.6 billion despite a slowdown in the flow of cash, falling to £2bn from £3bn in the same period last year.


7am: Cineworld to exit Chapter 11

Cineworld expects to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, the British cinema chain operator said today.

It also said that its proposed restructuring received the support of lenders holding about 99% of its legacy debt facilities.

The world’s second largest movie cinema chain operator after AMC Entertainment filed for US bankruptcy protection in September in a move to restructure its massive debt.

Earlier this month, it received US court approval to raise $2.26 billion as part of its bid to exit from bankruptcy, after reaching a settlement with a minority faction of lenders that had opposed parts of the exit financing.

Cineworld, which had scrapped plans to sell some or all its businesses after failing to find a buyer, is scheduled to seek final court approval of its bankruptcy restructuring on June 12.


7am: Energy price cap

Energy regulator Ofgem has announced that the price cap will be set at £2,074 for a dual fuel household paying by direct debit based on typical consumption.

Full story here


Global markets

Wall Street closed in subdued mood amid prolonged negotiations over the federal debt ceiling, and uncertainty over the Federal Reserve’s next move.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.77%, while the S&P 500 slid 0.73%. The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.61%.

Discussions over the federal debt ceiling continued with no sign of a resolution, fostering investor unease.

Adding to the uncertainty were the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting, which showed disagreement among officials over the possibility of future interest rate hikes.

Several Federal Reserve officials felt the need for further interest rate increases “had become less certain,” and the quarter-percentage-point hike they approved at their 2-3 May meeting might be the last, according to minutes released yesterday.

Others cautioned the US.central bank needed to keep its options open given the risks of persistent inflation, which is still running at more than twice the Fed’s 2% target.

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