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 20, 2023

US edges towards its debt ceiling

Macro & Overnight

UK retail sales and consumer confidence data for December were below expectations.

As we reassess our post-Christmas budgets and spending, spare a thought for Treasury Secretary Yellen, whose spending is up against its $31tn debt ceiling. The political theatre of raising this self-imposed limit is now upon us.

China’s social unrest moves from zero COVID to zero fireworks as we approach Chinese New Year this weekend. Will Xi u-turn on fireworks too?

Oil prices continue to firm despite a second month of higher inventories.

There is evidence that Russia is now starting to feel the pain of the Western-imposed price cap on Russian crude. Although we must beware of the fog of war.

 

UK Company News

4imprint, the disruptive promotional products distributor, updated on a strong finish to 2022 with FY revenue of $1.14bn and PBT no less than $100m. Net cash is also ahead of expectations. This is the fifth upgrade in the last 12 months. 4imprint’s small but rapidly growing market share suggests it has further scope to grow. 

Close Brothers lender, asset manager and market maker, updated on another resilient performance. Despite the uncertain market backdrop, it saw good demand. Banking maintained strong margins, and asset management saw inflows. Trading activity remained subdued at Winterflood. The group focused on pricing discipline with solid capital, funding and liquidity positions. CB also updated on Novitas and the planned withdrawal from After The Event legal services financing. The group warned it would make an additional provision in the H1 2023 financial statements against the Novitas loan book of up to £90m. Litigation finance is a tricky business. 

Spirent Communications, provider of automated network test and assurance products, said its results would align with expectations. A strong order book built over the last 18 months makes it well-placed to deliver continued progress in the year ahead, although there will be greater weighting to the second half. Often a warning sign of a slowdown. 

Trufin, the fintech holding company, reported that its revenues for the 12 months ended 31 December 2022 should be no less than £16.0m, year-on-year growth of over 22%. Satago Revenues increased more than 350% to no less than GBP2.1m (FY21: GBP0.5m), driven by Satago’s successful pivot towards lending as a service. Satago has delivered the trial phase of its invoice finance solution with Lloyds Bank. The Bank is now testing the digitised proposition ahead of customer onboarding. Trufin appears to have a tiger by the tail. 

 

Prognosticator

 

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