Market Prognosis

A concise summary of the major macro events of the past 24 hours, and selected UK company-specific news.

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January 19, 2024

Poor UK retail sales, Wincanton bid & 4imprint beat

Macro & Overnight

Better-than-expected TSMC results have spiked renewed interest in semiconductor stocks.

Retail sales in the UK were -3.2% in December, much worse than expected. Given recent company Christmas trading updates, the pain has been more in the luxury and high-end market, with evidence of consumers trading down and concentrating on essentials.

UK Company News

A recommended offer by a French logistics operator for Wincanton at a 52% premium returns £566m of cash to the UK market, a further illustration of the value on offer in smaller UK companies. 

4imprint updated +16% revenue growth profit not less than $140. It also underlined its cash-generating potential with a yearend balance of $105m, some $20m above forecasts. 

4imprint continues a relentless trajectory of market share gains and prodigious cash generation. While its immediate fortunes are linked to the health of the US corporate economy and its level of marketing spend, this company has much more control over its growth path than is widely believed. 

AJ Bell reported record assets under administration (“AUA”) of £76.2 billion, up 15% in the last year and 7% in the quarter. It said it is changing the interest rates paid on cash balances while lowering some customer charges.

Capital, the mining services company, updated that revenue was running below guidance. However, it announced a 5-year extension at Sukari, its largest mining contract. Fleet utilisation for the quarter was 72%, and the investment portfolio grew to $47.2m. Tendering activity remains robust across the Group, with several high-quality opportunities progressing.

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