- Fresh data from the Office for National Statistics has shown that UK industrial output grew at its fastest rate for 6 months in March, rising by 0.5% from March. Manufacturing output also rose by 0.4% in March and February’s growth was adjusted upwards to 0.5%. Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at Markit, said that “the overall picture in fact remains one of a manufacturing economy that is struggling to expand in the face of the stronger pound and heightened business uncertainty.” Meanwhile, Howard Archer from IHS Global Insight commented that “now that the general election is out of the way and political uncertainty is less of a factor, the prospects for manufacturers seem pretty healthy on the domestic demand front, especially for consumer goods”.
- The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has estimated that UK GDP growth picked up in April and accelerated to 0.4% for the 3 month period ended 30th April, which compares to the disappointing 0.3% that was recorded for the first quarter. In a statement, the thinktank commented, “we expect the slight softening of GDP growth experienced in the first quarter of this year to be temporary and forecast the UK economy will expand by 2.5 percent for the year as a whole”.
- The FTSE 100 fell by 96.22 points to 6,933.63 points; the FTSE 250 tumbled 181.08 points to 17,689.56; the FTSE All Share declined by 48.96 points to 3,755.52 points; and the FTSE AIM All Share finished the day up by 2.26 points at 756.94 points.
Easyjet (EZJ) saw revenues for the 6 months ended 31st March rise by 3.8% due to better capacity usage and improved load factors. Pre-tax profits were £7 million, a major turnaround from last year’s loss of £53 million. Shares in the airline dropped by 179p to 1,654p, but Richard Hunter, Head of Equities at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that “given that the shares have risen 19% over the last six months alone, as compared to a 6% hike for the wider FTSE100, there may also be an element of profit taking in today’s share price nosedive. It remains to be seen whether the current market consensus of the shares as a strong buy will equally be disturbed”.
Data services provider Experian (EXPN) reported a positive end to its financial year ended 31st March as it returned to organic revenue growth in the final quarter. The company has been working to reposition its North American consumer offerings over the period and management said that there were encouraging signs that traction was being achieved. Total revenues were broadly flat at $4.8 billion (£3 billion) and were negatively effected by adverse foreign currency movements. The shares rose by 37p to 1,214p.
Wireless equipment and software developer Anite (AIE) said that strong trading in the fourth quarter means that results for its financial year ended 30th April will meet expectations. Both the Device and Network Testing divisions performed well, with the Network arm strengthened by the acquisition of Xceed Data Analytics in October. CEO Christopher Humphrey’s commented that “we saw continued momentum in the second half resulting in a good full year result. The business performed well notwithstanding a typically mixed market backdrop”. The shares grew by 6.75p to 91.5p.
Satellite data specialist Avanti Communications (AVN) recorded a 26% increase in revenues for the 9 months ended 31st March as the firm earned $48.9 million (£31.1 million) during the period. The company also moved into positive EBITDA territory in the third quarter, partially offsetting losses recorded earlier in the financial year. Management said that current trading is good and that there are significant opportunities for growth in the pipeline for 2016 and beyond. Avanti Communication shares climbed by 4.5p to 235p.
Wednesday’s news today
SAB Miller (SAB), Compass Group (CPG) and Galliford Try (GFRD) are among the firms that will publish results and statements tomorrow.
Unemployment and inflation figures for the UK will be posted, as will US retail data and German GDP news.
Quote of the day
“Successful investing is anticipating the anticipations of others.”
― John Maynard Keynes