FTSE 100 Edges Lower After Fed Minutes

0821 GMT - The FTSE 100 edges down 0.2% to 7501.68 in early trade, tracking falls in U.S. and Asian stocks after Federal Reserve minutes said U.S. interest rates would need to continue rising to bring down inflation. "Negative momentum from a down day on U.S. and Asian markets has carried forward to the European session with markets opening in the red," says Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, in a note. In the U.K., investors remain concerned about risks of recession amid rising interest rates after data Wednesday showed that inflation jumped to 10.1% in July. Financial stocks are among the main fallers. Persimmon rises 1.8%, reversing some of Wednesday's losses following poorly received 1H results. (jessica.fleetham@wsj.com)

 
Companies News: 

Thungela Resources Reaches Agreement With Transnet to Keep Transport Deal

Thungela Resources Ltd. said Thursday that it has reached an agreement to keep its long-term freight rail transport deal with Transnet SOC Ltd., and that bulk coal rail services and coal sales continued during the negotiations.

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Proteome Sciences Appoints Abdelghani Omari as CFO

Proteome Sciences PLC said Thursday that it has appointed Abdelghani Omari as chief financial officer.

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Chill Brands Teams With Bellator to Expand CBD Product Distribution in U.S.

Chill Brands Group PLC said Thursday that it has entered into a brokerage agreement with Bellator Group LLC to support and expand the distribution of its cannabidiol-product lines in the U.S. market.

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Zytronic Expects FY 2022 Revenue 5% Higher on Year, Profit Ahead

Zytronic PLC said in an update Thursday that it now expects to report fiscal 2022 revenue that is 5% higher on year and pretax profit ahead of the prior year.

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Inspecs Swung to 1H Pretax Profit on Increased Sales Volume

Inspecs Group PLC reported a swing to a pretax profit in the first half of 2022 as revenue rose on higher volumes, and said the company continues to expand its production capacity.

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Immotion Group Location-Based Entertainment Revenue Soared on Strong Summer

Immotion Group PLC said Thursday that revenue at its core location-based entertainment business rose for the first half of 2022, and that discussions about the spinoff of two divisions are at an advanced stage.

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Aeorema Communications Increases FY 2022 Expectations After Strong End to Year

Aeorema Communications PLC said in an update Thursday that it was increasing its expectations for fiscal 2022 after a strong end to the year.

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Wynnstay Group Raises GBP10.6 Mln via Share Placing

Wynnstay Group PLC said Thursday that it has now raised 10.6 million pounds ($12.8 million) via the share placing first announced late Wednesday.

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Bens Creek Group Raises GBP6 Mln Toward Growth Strategy

Bens Creek Group PLC said Thursday that it has raised 6.0 million pounds ($7.2 million) via a share placing and subscription, and that it will use the money toward the next stage of its growth strategy as it moves to become an equipment owner-operator.

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Marshalls 1H Pretax Profit Fell on Cost Increases

Marshalls PLC said Thursday that pretax profit for the first half of 2022 fell due to a hit from adjusting items, but that revenue increased.

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Angling Direct Sees FY 2023 Revenue Sinking Well Below Views as Inflation Hits Consumers

Angling Direct PLC said Thursday that it expects revenue for fiscal 2023 to come in below market expectations amid as the rising cost of living hits consumer confidence.

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Rank Group Swung to FY 2022 Pretax Profit After Revenue Rise

Rank Group PLC said Thursday that it swung to a fiscal 2022 pretax profit after a rise in net gambling revenue.

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Westminster Group 1H Pretax Loss Narrowed as Revenue Rose on Pandemic Recovery

Westminster Group PLC said Thursday that its pretax loss narrowed for the first half of 2022 as revenue increased due to the recovery of its services business, and that it expects revenue in the second half to be in line with market expectations.

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AO World Swung to FY 2022 Pretax Loss as Costs Rose; Strategy Shift to Hit Sales

AO World PLC reported Thursday a swing to pretax loss for fiscal 2022 due to higher costs, and that it expects both sales and expenses to fall as the company realigns its online retail strategy.

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Helios Towers 1H Pretax Loss Widened on Increase in Costs

Helios Towers PLC said Thursday that its pretax loss for the first half widened on increased costs, but that adjusted Ebitda increased on revenue growth.

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Made.com Group Mulls Equity Issue to Strengthen Balance Sheet

Made.com Group PLC confirmed Thursday that it is considering a potential equity capital raising to strengthen its balance sheet.

 
Market Talk: 

Pantheon Resources' Alaska Well Data Accumulation Invaluable for Market, Industry

1124 GMT - Pantheon Resources carried out the drilling of the pilot hole and lateral at the Alkaid #2 well very effectively with the geological results matching, or improving on predrill expectations is a dual positive for the oil-and-gas exploration company, Canaccord Genuity analyst Charlie Sharp says in a note. However for the market and the industry, it is the well's test flow rates and pressure data over several months that will provide the most important information from this well, Sharp says. "We expect the early indications from mid October, but the accumulation of data over the remainder of the year and into 2023 will be invaluable," Sharp says. Canaccord Genuity rates the stock speculative buy and has a 300 pence target price. (anthony.orunagoriainoff@dowjones.com)

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Pantheon Resources Reported Reservoir Quality Needs Quantification

1100 GMT - Oil-and-gas exploration company Pantheon Resources drilled a 5,300 foot lateral section in the Alkaid-2 well in Alaska and although no assessment was given, it said that reservoir quality in the lateral section was reported to be good, Peel Hunt analysts Matt Cooper and Werner Riding say in a note. Although management said the vertical pilot hole's reservoir parameters continued or improved in the horizontal well bore, it would be helpful to have some degree of quantification of the reservoir's quality improvement, the analysts say. In particular with the average porosity and permeability in the lateral section and how this compares to predrill expectations. Peel Hunt rates the stock sell, and has a 50 pence target price. (anthony.orunagoriainoff@dowjones.com)

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Rank Looks to Be on the Up Thanks to Digital Strength

1057 GMT - Rank Group's momentum appears to be improving after its third quarter was affected by Omicron, Goodbody's David Brohan says in a research note. The gambling group's digital operations are performing better than peers, with Grosvenor beginning to see International travelers returning and Mecca completing the migration onto the Ride platform, Brohan says. However, underlying growth in Grosvenor and Mecca venues is being counteracted by increases in energy costs, he adds. "We continue to believe Rank is a very well managed business, and despite the macro headwinds it is currently facing, remains an attractive leisure recovery play," Brohan says. Goodbody has a buy rating on the stock. (kyle.morris@dowjones.com)

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AO World Seems to Be Entering in a Upbeat Phase

1053 GMT - AO World's shares declined by 82% over the past year, but its upbeat mood in the FY 2022 report shows that the company has entered into a new chapter after difficult times, head of markets at interactive investor Richard Hunter says in a research note. The online electrical-goods retailer reported an increase both in revenue and customers over the past two years, while it expands into a larger market, Hunter says. "In the meantime, vague bid speculation hasn't materialized into anything concrete, although the suspicion remains that potential suitors may still be running the slide rule over the company," Hunter adds. (michael.susin@wsj.com)

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Marshalls's Diversification Looks Like a Strength

1035 GMT - Marshalls's first-half results demonstrate the benefits of its increasing diversification, with strength in new build housing and commercial end markets offsetting private-housing repair, maintenance and improvement weakness, Davy Research's Ross Harvey and Flor O'Donoghue say in a research note. While the macro outlook is becoming less certain for the specialist landscape products company, its full-year expectations remain in line with market views thanks largely to the diversification, with the more positive backdrop in Marshalls Building Products and Marley helping cover tougher conditions in Marshalls Landscape Products, they say. Davy has a neutral rating on the stock. (kyle.morris@dowjones.com)

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AO World's Refocus to Profit Over Growth Looks Set To Boost Earnings

1031 GMT - AO World's FY 2022 performance was mostly disappointing, but the strategic decision to prioritize value creation rather than growth-at-all-costs could drive earnings ahead of expectations, Jefferies says as shares trade 20% higher. As the online electrical-goods retailer builds profitable channels and identifies meaningful cost savings, the U.S. bank sees an Ebitda increase of 34% to GBP45 million by the start of FY 2024, Jefferies analysts Andrew Wade and Grace Gilberg say in a research note. The U.S. bank upgrades the recommendation to buy from hold and price target on the stock to 65 pence from 45 pence. (michael.susin@wsj.com)

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Marshalls Benefits From Steady 1H Trading

1028 GMT - Shares in Marshalls drop 2% after the building-material supplier reported lower first-half profit, but said revenue increased. The results matched expectations and the group's 7% increase in like-for-like revenue was consistent with trends in the first four months of the year, indicating trading hadn't discernibly slowed at any point in the first half, Panmure Gordon says. "Crucially, the Marley acquisition is performing well, justifying the investment," Panmure analyst Adrian Kearsey says in a note. "Enhanced levels of disclosure highlight the breadth of the group's end markets and the resilience this brings. Within the mix, firm house-building order books and public-sector spending are offsetting a more subdued domestic landscaping segment." (philip.waller@wsj.com)

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Helios Towers Seems Committed to Rollout Plans

0956 GMT - Helios Towers looks committed to its rollout plans despite the macro backdrop and its strong execution in the first half seems to put it well on track to deliver the guided 1,200-1,700 organic tenancy adds this year, Jefferies's Jerry Dellis and Yi Hsin Yeoh say in a research note. The Africa- and Middle East-focused telecommunications-infrastructure company has confirmed guidance for the full year and it should be able to bring margins back up to the target range in the second half. Jefferies has a buy rating on the stock and raises its target price to 212.00 pence from 209.00 pence. (kyle.morris@dowjones.com)

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AO World's Longer-Term Earnings Look Set to Top Hopes

0925 GMT - Shares in AO World jump 16% to 47 pence after the U.K. consumer-electronics online retailer sounded optimism about its outlook despite swinging to a pretax loss in the year to March. The company said it was closing its German business, voiced confidence in the prospects of its U.K. operation and said it was focusing on cash and profit generation. Jefferies says the results were consistent with guidance and the brokerage's expectations, but the focus on profit looked set to drive earnings ahead of its previous estimates. "We upgrade our FY24 EBITDA estimate by 34%, our price target from 45p to 65p and our recommendation from hold to buy," Jefferies analyst Andrew Wade says in a note. (philip.waller@wsj.com)

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Rank Set to Book Energy Hit But Has Options Available

0921 GMT - Rank Group is set to take a GBP46 million hit from rising energy costs, but there is some uncertainty surrounding the cost for this year, Shore Capital's Greg Johnson says in a research note. The gambling group has seen an improvement intrading at its London casino estate and the pickup in digital is encouraging, with further significant profit growth seen this year, Johnson says. "Operationally, there remains numerous self-help opportunities, the balance sheet is strong and the valuation heavily depressed," he adds. Shore Capital has a buy rating on the stock. Shares trade down 3% at 85.40 pence. (kyle.morris@dowjones.com)

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Wynnstay Group Raises Funds for Growth Opportunities

0909 GMT - Wynnstay Group has completed a significantly oversubscribed GBP10.6 million placing, with funds primarily set for redeveloping the Calne feed facility as well as future acquisitions, Shore Capital says. The U.K. supplier of agricultural products and services has highlighted that despite cost inflation and supply chain pressures, it has been experiencing a strong trading backdrop supported by buoyant farmgate prices, Shore analysts Akhil Patel and Clive Black say in a research note. "We note the directors have identified several opportunities to accelerate Wynnstay's growth including having a strong and active pipeline," the investment group says. Shore acts as a broker and nominated adviser to Wynnstay. Shares are down 4.5% at 592.0 pence. (joseph.hoppe@wsj.com)

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Rank Group Faces Regulatory Uncertainty Amid Delayed UK Gambling Reform

0851 GMT - Rank Group continues to suffer from regulatory uncertainty, with the U.K. government having delayed proposals to reform gambling laws four times since 2019 amid a dispute among Conservative party members, interactive investor's Head of Investment Victoria Scholar says in a note. "The U.K.'s regulatory tightening and uncertainty continue to be major headwinds for stocks like Rank Group and 888 alongside the cost-of-living crisis, which leaves individuals and households with less disposable income left over at the end of the month," Scholar says. Shares trade down 3% at 85.40 pence. (kyle.morris@dowjones.com)

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Gilt Curve Has Room to Flatten, But QT Might Muddy This Call, ING Says

0702 GMT - The U.K. gilt curve has room to flatten further with the peak in inflation still to come and recession fears further on the rise, ING's rates strategists write in a note. Core U.K. inflation might peak soon but ING's economists expect the headline rate to hover around 12% from October, the rates strategists say after annual inflation hit a four-decade high of 10.1% in July. In a market featuring widening bid-offer spreads, the Bank of England intends to embark on active quantitative tightening soon, they say. "It will test market functioning as private investors will effectively have to absorb significantly higher amounts of government debt going forward," the strategists say, adding that this factor muddies their call for a flatter curve. (emese.bartha@wsj.com)

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London Stocks Seen Opening Little Changed

0644 GMT - The FTSE 100 index is expected to open up marginally, by 4.8 points, according to IG, as investors remain cautious after Federal Reserve minutes confirmed that U.S. interest rates would need to continue rising to bring down inflation. There was some comfort for investors, however, as some Fed members worried that rate increases could slow the economy more than warranted. The minutes were "more hawkish-than-what-was-needed-to-give-another-boost to the U.S. stock markets," says Swissquote analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya in a note. Eurozone inflation data will be watched at 0900 GMT, after data Wednesday showing U.K. inflation jumped into double digits. DP World will be in focus after a 1H update. (jessica.fleetham@wsj.com)

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U.K.'s High Inflation Is a Problem for Eurozone Government Bonds

0628 GMT - The U.K.'s four-decade-high 10.1% annual inflation for July caused a repricing of market expectations of interest-rate increases by the Bank of England, and the cross-read for eurozone government bonds is that the market discounts similar upward pressure for coming HICP releases, Commerzbank's strategists say. "10y Bunds [Bund yields] took out the 1% level effortlessly amid a flattening curve, before weakening equities helped Bunds to stabilize later in the session," Commerzbank's rates strategists Hauke Siemssen and Rainer Guntermann write in a note, referring to Wednesday's moves. They add that subdued summer liquidity doesn't help and might remain an obstacle in Thursday's trading as well. The 10-year Bund yield is trading unchanged at 1.088%, according to Tradeweb. (emese.bartha@wsj.com)

 

Contact: London NewsPlus, Dow Jones Newswires;

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 18, 2022 07:47 ET (11:47 GMT)

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