Further evidence of UK consumer resilience
Macro & Overnight
Markets quiet overnight with US bond yields declining, the $ and energy prices slightly weaker and precious metals stronger.
UK Company News
Another busy day of news. Guidance was lowered at Darktrace, Direct Line and PageGroup, but positive updates from Sainsbury and JD Sports further signals UK consumer resilience.
JD Sports has shown positive performance through the second half. It now expects the profit towards the top end of expectations and an outturn of over £1bn, many trainers sold.
Sainsbury reported better-than-expected trading into the end of 2022 across grocery and non-food formats, which include Argos and Habitat.
Mental health specialist Cambridge Cognition has acquired Winterlight, a leader in monitoring cognitive impairment through free-speech analysis. This company focuses on machine-learning-based voice assessments, widely used in clinical trials. Winterlight has invested considerably in new applications and built a business with over 20 pharmaceutical and healthcare customers over the past seven years.
We had an update from Creo Medical, an innovative device company focused on the emerging field of minimally invasive surgical endoscopy for pre-cancer and cancer patients. Its new Kamaptive programme saw its first revenues and will see its first-in-human robotic procedure in 2023. While management says it continues to progress towards profitability, helped by material reductions in costs, the Board is “considering several options to ensure that the Group is sufficiently funded to meet its stated growth ambitions”. Not a statement welcomed by shareholders in unprofitable businesses, however promising.
Hostelworld is an online platform aimed at gap year students and younger travellers. It is an exciting niche business with decent growth prospects. Hostelworld has updated on a return of profitable growth in-line with market guidance, expecting a modest profit for the year and a year-end net cash position of Euro 19m.
PageGroup signalled a softening recruitment market into Q4 in an update that was broadly in line. Further evidence of a slowdown in job openings.
Print and digital media publisher Reach expects current market headwinds will continue during 2023. Q4 advertising revenue was lower than expected. Print advertising declined by 20.2%. It has therefore taken action for further cost reductions.
Troubled IT vendor for schools RM Group has appointed a new CEO.
Topps Tiles updated with a solid first quarter of like-for-like sales growth, up 5.1%.
High-flying data software supplier WANdisco updated that Q4 2022 finished strongly, following significant contract momentum with both new and existing customers. It stated that its solutions are ideal for moving IoT data from the network edge to the cloud. Bookings in FY22 grew 967% to $127m. It ended the period with cash of $19m and $44m in trade receivables.
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