The FTSE 100 avoided losses on Thursday. London's blue-chip index closed 0.2% higher, as outperformance from financials helped offset a disappointing session for retailers. Shares in Barclays increased 2.5%, HSBC rose 2.4%, and NatWest was up 1.8%. Conversely, Tesco and Marks & Spencer fell after releasing trading updates. "It has in fact been a day of decent quarterly numbers for U.K. retail, not that you'd know it, with both Tesco and Marks & Spencer share prices slipping back, although this could simply be a case that expectations were perhaps a little bit too high," Michael Hewson from CMC Markets said. Shares in fashion retailer JD Sports plunged too, after it disclosed that the chairman sold a chunk of shares in the company.
Attraqt Sees 2021 Fiscal Performance Improving
Attraqt Group PLC said Thursday that it expects its 2021 financial performance to grow in line with its expectations, after signing further multiyear contract renewals.
Pharos Energy CEO to Step Down After IPR Energy Transaction
Pharos Energy PLC said Thursday that Chief Executive Officer Ed Story will step down upon completion of its transaction with IPR Energy AG, expected in the first quarter of 2022, and be replaced by Jann Brown.
Woodbois Sees 2022 Growth, But Constrained by Shipping Issues
Woodbois Ltd. said Thursday that it expects to increase revenue and profit in 2022, but at lower levels than expected due to continued shipping delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Aura Energy Appoints Will Goodall as Acting CEO
Aura Energy Ltd. said Thursday that it has appointed Will Goodall as acting chief executive officer.
Holders Technology to Pay Special Dividend After Completing Disposal
Holders Technology PLC said Thursday that it will pay a special dividend of 2.0 pence (3 cents) after having completed the sale of certain printed circuit board assets.
W.H. Ireland Appoints Michael Bishop as Head of Wealth Management; Stephen Ford Steps Down
W.H. Ireland Group PLC said Thursday that Michael Bishop has been appointed as head of the wealth management division with immediate effect, and that Stephen Ford will step down from the role and as executive director to pursue other opportunities.
LXI REIT Nonexecutive Chairman to Step Down in 2022
LXI REIT PLC said Thursday that Nonexecutive Chairman Stephen Hubbard will step down after the company's 2022 annual general meeting, and named Cyrus Ardalan as chairman designate.
Caracal Gold Appoints General Manager of Kilimapesa Operations, CFO
Caracal Gold PLC said Thursday that it has appointed Riaan Lombard as general manager of the Kilimapesa gold mine in Kenya and Paul Reeves as chief financial officer of the company.
Anglo Asian Mining Meets 2021 Production Guidance
Anglo Asian Mining PLC said Thursday that it met its 2021 production guidance for gold equivalent ounces and that it has agreed to buy a stake in Libero Copper & Gold Corp.
Crypto-Savings Lawsuit Puts Principles of DeFi to the Test
The emerging world of decentralized finance offers the holders of cryptocurrency many of the amenities of a modern financial system, under the premise that blockchain technology can cut out the middlemen, replacing flesh-and-blood bankers with autonomous, self-governing computer programs.
President Energy Sees Significant Financial Improvement for 2021; Shares Rise
Shares in President Energy PLC rose in early trade Thursday after the company said that it expects to report a significantly improved financial performance for 2021, despite production being flat.
ASOS Shares Rise on Move to LSE Main Market, Unchanged FY Guidance -- Update
Shares in ASOS PLC rose on Thursday after the company said that its guidance for fiscal 2022 as a whole remains unchanged despite the effect on demand due to the Omicron coronavirus variant, and added that it intends to move to the London Stock Exchange's main market.
Mitchells & Butlers Stock Looks Cheaper Than Rivals'
1340 GMT - Mitchells & Butlers shares look better value than peers, says Liberum Capital, reiterating its buy recommendation on the U.K. pub-restaurant and bar owner. M&B reported a 1.5% fall in like-for-like sales for the 15 weeks to Jan. 8, but said sales rose 2.7% for the first eight weeks before falling 6% in the latter seven as concerns emerged about the Omicron coronavirus variant. Liberum says it believes the 6% sales drop was smaller than the market feared. "The stock is the best-value pub play, with shares trading on an unwarranted 19% discount to pub peers. Buy," Liberum analysts say. Shares rise 0.8% to 260 pence.
HydrogenOne Potential Investments Could Be Huge
1203 GMT - HydrogenOne's announcement on Thursday that it is considering raising capital after identifying over 200 hydrogen investment opportunities shows a huge scale of potential investment, Liberum says. The London-listed fund says the sector has strong momentum, with projects that could reach $700 billion on value-chain spending by 2030. "A capital raise was always likely given the progress with deployment and elevated share rating," the U.K investment bank says. Shares were down 3.6% at 113.0 pence.
John Wood Group Seen Well-Placed for Improvement
1203 GMT - John Wood Group's progress on the built environment consulting business disposal should be seen as a significant positive and the outlook for its key businesses is improving, Citi says. The London-listed engineering-and-consultancy company is well-placed to profit from increased conventional energy activity--considering the industry's focus on decarbonization and efficiency--and rising renewables and clean-energy spending, specifically hydrogen and carbon capture, Citi says. Now that legacy contracts are predominantly completed, the business model is also lower risk when compared with its peers, the U.S. bank notes. Citi has a buy rating on the stock and a target price of 270 pence. Shares trade up 23% at 246.1 pence.
Market Reaction to Card Factory Update Seen as Harsh
1147 GMT - The market's reaction to the Card Factory's update is harsh, as there is a medium to long-term upside, Liberum says. Despite the inflationary-pressure warning, a continued performance recovery could beat previous pretax profit forecast for 2022, the U.K. investment bank says. Net debt reduction of GBP15M is a positive update that should give "scope to re-negotiate with its banks regarding the fundraise," Liberum says. Shares were down 15% at 54.1 pence.
Bonds Seen Facing Difficult Year in 2022
1144 GMT - Bonds will face a difficult 2022 after a challenging 2021, Olivier de Berranger, chief investment officer at asset manager LFDE, says in a webinar. Inflation and rising rates are the two demons of bonds, he says. Against this backdrop, LFDE is hardly invested in government bonds, and instead prefers specific areas within fixed income, he says. Geopolitical risks, concentrated mostly on China, central banks' move to reduce their balance sheet, and the risk of disappointment over corporate results are among the factors to watch this year, he says, anticipating a more volatile year. However, higher volatility can provide entry points, he says.
Hays's Cash Position Could Lead to Special Dividends
1122 GMT - Hays has the scope for strong medium-term special dividends considering the strength of its net cash position, according to Davy Research. Net fees growth for the second quarter at the U.K. staffing company was 37% on a like-for-like basis on year, which was ahead of Davy's forecast of a 34% increase. Growth rates were impressive in 2Q across the board and it is exiting December strongly with no real impact from the new coronavirus variant, so further impressive growth this quarter should be expected before tougher comparatives kick in, the Irish research firm says. Davy has an outperform rating on the stock. Shares trade up 1.3% at 153.9 pence.
Persimmon Ends 2021 on Mixed Note, Missing Completions Target
1059 GMT - Persimmon missed its home completions target for 2021, with a 7% increase in deliveries versus its guidance of 10%, Davy Research says. While this was delivered at an impressive 28% margin, the full-year result is likely to come in below estimates, the Irish research firm says. The house builder's long-term demand trends remain positive, but it continued to see negative effects from the coronavirus such as staff absenteeism and customer delays, steep build cost inflation of 5% and planning issues, which weighed on performance, it adds. Davy retains its neutral rating on Persimmon's stock. Shares are down 1.6% at 2,578.0 pence.
ASOS Jumps After Update, Main-Market Plan
1028 GMT - ASOS shares jump 9.8% after the online clothing retailer kept full-year guidance unchanged despite supply-chain issues and coronavirus variant-related uncertainty. Though a 5% sales rise in the four months to Dec. 31 might not seem remarkable, it has gone down well with investors who perhaps feared it wouldn't even achieve that, AJ Bell says. "The challenge now is to achieve stronger growth," AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould says, adding that the AIM-listed company's plan to move to London's main market by the end of February means it should qualify for a place in the FTSE 250 index later this year and benefit from index funds buying its stock.
Contact: London NewsPlus, Dow Jones Newswires; Write to Sarka Halas at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 13, 2022 12:19 ET (17:19 GMT)Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.