Sterling Seen Unmoved by UK Political Scandal
0946 GMT - Sterling traders appear to be looking past news that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a parliament interrogation Wednesday over claims he attended a party in Downing Street during lockdown last May, ING says. "While arguably facing the toughest period of his tenure, markets seem very sceptical to price in any political instability in the U.K. for the moment, with the pound still scoring as the best performing currency of 2022," ING forex strategist Francesco Pesole says. Barring any surprise political shake-up or policy remarks by Bank of England Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe at a conference later, sterling should continue to be unmoved by domestic events, Pesole says. EUR/GBP and GBP/USD are both flat at 0.8343 and 1.3632 respectively.(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sainsbury Upgrades FY 2022 Views on Lower Costs, Higher Christmas Grocery Volumes
J Sainsbury PLC said Wednesday that like-for-like sales including fuel for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 fell, but upgraded its full-year market expectations on lower costs, market-share growth and higher grocery volumes during Christmas.
Whitbread 3Q Total Sales Rose 5%
Whitbread PLC said Wednesday that total sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 grew 5% and that its performance in the U.K. to Jan. 6 has been resilient despite the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
Bunzl Acquires New Jersey-Based PPE Distributor for Undisclosed Sum
Bunzl PLC said Wednesday it has acquired New Jersey-based Tingley Rubber Corporation, a personal protective equipment distributor, for an undisclosed sum.
UK Antitrust Regulator Clears IAG, Air Europa Merger
The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority said Wednesday that International Consolidated Airlines Group SA's planned acquisition of Air Europa doesn't qualify for investigation under the Enterprise Act 2002.
JD Sports Fashion 22-Week Revenue to Jan. 1 Rose; Sees FY 2022 Headline Pretax Profit of $1.19 Bln
JD Sports Fashion PLC said Wednesday that revenue for the 22-week period to Jan. 1 in its like-for-like businesses rose more than 10% compared with the same period in 2020, and that it expects headline pretax profit for fiscal 2022 of 875 million pounds ($1.19 billion).
Vistry Says 2021 Adjusted Pretax Profit Rose as Completed Sales Increased
Vistry Group PLC said Wednesday that it expects full-year adjusted pretax profit to rise in line with guidance, after a strong increase in completed sales.
PageGroup Says 2021 Operating Profit Was Above Expectations
PageGroup PLC said Wednesday that it expects to report operating profit for 2021 marginally ahead of its previous guidance of around 165 million pounds ($225 million), boosted by continued improvement through the year.
Dunelm Says 1H Pretax Profit, 3Q Total Sales Grew
Dunelm Group PLC said Wednesday that total sales rose in the third quarter of fiscal 2022, boosted by a strong performance from its stores, and that it expects to post pretax profit growth for the first half.
Trustpilot Sees 2021 Revenue at $131 Mln; Total Bookings of $150 Mln
Trustpilot Group PLC said Wednesday that it expects to report revenue of $131 million for 2021 and total bookings of $150 million.
M Winkworth Expects 2021 Rev, Pft to Beat Views; Declares Special Div
M Winkworth PLC said Wednesday that it expects 2021 revenue and pretax profit to exceed forecasts, and declared a special dividend.
S4 Capital Performance in Line With Market Expectations; Media.Monks, 4 Mile Analytics to Merge
S4 Capital PLC said Wednesday that performance remains in line with market expectations and that Media.Monks and 4 Mile Analytics will merge.
DFS Furniture 1H Sales Rose 10% Vs Fiscal 2019; Backs FY 2022 Guidance
DFS Furniture PLC said Wednesday that sales for the first half of fiscal 2022 were up 10% compared with the same period in fiscal 2019, before the pandemic hit, and backed its full-year guidance.
Hostelworld's Revenue Recovered in 2021, But Took Omicron Hit
Hostelworld Group PLC said Wednesday that it recorded a consistent recovery in bookings and revenue in 2021 when compared with pre-pandemic levels, except for the latter part of the year amid the rise of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
Nichols Revenue Rose in 2021; Backs Profit Guidance
Nichols PLC said Wednesday that 2021 revenue rose 22% and was broadly in line with 2019's levels, and backed its profit guidance for the year.
Probe Into Microsoft Acquisition of Nuance Communications Launched by UK Antitrust Watchdog
The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority said Wednesday that it has started a formal investigation into Microsoft Corp.'s planned acquisition of Nuance Communications Inc. to determine whether the merger would lessen competition within U.K. markets.
Savills Sees 2021 Profit Significantly Ahead of Its Expectations
Savills PLC said Wednesday that it expects underlying pretax profit for 2021 to be significantly ahead of the upper end of the board's expectations, following a strong final business period.
Darktrace's Strong 1H Confirms Growth Path
1027 GMT - Darktrace's very strong 1H confirms that the magnitude of growth is surpassing expectations and that the quality of such growth is improving, Jefferies says. Falling churn rates and rising net retention at the U.K. cybersecurity company answers debate among investors in regard to its products and the sustainability of growth, Jefferies says. "We believe Darktrace is well-placed to capitalize on the structural growth in cybersecurity and deliver among the fastest growth in the European tech sector," the U.S. bank says. Jefferies has a buy recommendation with a target price of 800 pence. Shares trade up 5% at 443 pence. (email@example.com)
Dunelm Benefits From Online Focus as Well as More DIY
1027 GMT - Shares in Dunelm rise 5% after the U.K. homeware retailer reported higher second-quarter total sales and forecast better-than-expected full-year pretax profit. The company has benefited from increased online sales as well as people doing more home improvements during lockdowns, AJ Bell says. "A key plank of the transformation of Dunelm under chief executive Nick Wilkinson has been an improvement and expansion in online sales," AJ Bell's investment director Russ Mould says. "That has really helped during periods when footfall in its stores has either been reduced or wiped out entirely thanks to restrictions or people's reluctance to go out." (firstname.lastname@example.org)
S4 Capital's Mergers, Performance Look at Odds With Low Valuation
1004 GMT - S4 Capital's reassuring update is a buying opportunity, according to Jefferies. The London-listed digital advertising and marketing-services group's profit and net revenue growth is well ahead of previous company guidance of 40%, while like-for-like growth was also very strong, the U.S. bank says. Current trading shows the continuation of its strong trends, Jefferies says, adding that the merger of 4 Mile Analytics with Media.Monks further adds to S4's data capabilities. Jefferies has a buy rating with a price target of 930 pence. Shares trade up 4.3% at 553 pence.
Biffa to Deliver on Acquisition Synergies in 2022
0951 GMT - 2022 will be a year when Biffa delivers synergies by integrating its newly acquired businesses and increases its operational leverage, HSBC says, reaffirming a buy rating on the stock. The U.K. waste management company was a strong performer in 2021, but year-to-date the stock has fallen 3%, HSBC notes. The first half results in November were a snapshot of the company's performance after a year of rapid expansion, the bank says. HSBC raises the target price for Biffa to 460 pence from 450 pence. (email@example.com)
Whitbread Continues to Gain Market Share
0935 GMT - Hotel-and-restaurant company Whitbread shows market-share gains and expects continued recovery in its U.K. like-for-like revenue per available room--an industry metric--during 2022, Jefferies says. Whitbread says total U.K. accommodation sales to Jan. 6 were 5.1% ahead of fiscal 2020, with a 66% occupancy rate, and estimates a 7% to 8% rise in inflation for fiscal 2023. This is expected to be more than offset by cost efficiencies, estate growth and higher recurring annual revenue, the U.S. bank says. Analysts at Jefferies say that they see an upside risk to fiscal 2022 consensus pretax profit based on this. Jefferies rates the stock buy and has a 3,600 pence target price. Shares are up 0.2% at 3,206 pence. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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