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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April 23, 2024

Sterling weaker as FTSE hits new high

Macro

Just as precious metals looked like they were entering the mainstream of investor attention, gold and silver prices have corrected sharply. 

In the UK, the £ continues to weaken versus the $ as investors start to discount lower UK interest rates. On the flip side, the FTSE 100 moved to a record high, while in the US, fears grow that the next rate move might be up.   

UK Companies

GB Group, the identity and location software provider, updated that its operating profit is slightly ahead of current analyst expectations. Its cash generation in H2 has reduced net debt to around £81m. 

It might appear that GB Group’s fortunes are more tied to the crypto / Bitcoin cycle than they might have us believe. 

 

JD is to acquire NASDAQ-listed sports retailer Hibbett for a value of over $1bn. 

This move from JD Sports reverses the more normal trend of companies over there buying cheap assets over here. 

 

RWS, the language translation provider, updated that H1 revenues declined by 2% and profit before tax will be approximately £45m in the first half (H1 FY23: £54m). It cites a weaker performance in its higher-margin businesses. It has been investing in AI solutions to improve outcomes for clients and drive internal efficiency, which it says positions it well to play a leading role and navigate the AI-related transformation we are seeing in its industry.

The RWS battle to outsmart AI’s arrival in its industry is ongoing, and this update doesn’t give investors confidence that it can still prevail. 

 

THG Group updated a Q1 revenue growth acceleration to +4.5% (Q4 2023: +1.1%). Expectations for FY 2024 and medium-term guidance remain unchanged. 

 

Watkin Jones updated that it continues to expect performance to be significantly H2-weighted. (Progressive note). 

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