Weekly review

By Josh White

Date: Friday 29 May 2020

(Sharecast News) - The FTSE 100 ended the week up 83.32 points at 6,076.60.
Equity view

Flutter Entertainment has raised more than £800m in a share placing to reduce debt and be ready to expand its US business in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

TR Property Investment Trust said earnings would fall this year but that it would be able to draw on reserves to pay its dividend during the Covid-19 crisis.

AstraZeneca said on Friday that detailed results from the phase 3 'ADAURA' trial showed that 'Tagrisso', or osimertinib, demonstrated a "statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement" in disease-free survival in the adjuvant treatment of patients with early-stage epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated (EGFRm) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), after complete tumour resection with curative intent.

Mattress maker Eve Sleep said on Friday that revenue in the four months to the end of April was in line with expectations, while trading in May has been good following initial disruption from the coronavirus lockdown.

Syncona announced on Friday that its portfolio company, Achilles Therapeutics, has dosed the first patient in a phase 1 and 2 clinical study of its clonal neoantigen T cell (cNeT) therapy, in patients with recurrent or metastatic malignant melanoma.

Bus operator Stagecoach said it expected full year adjusted earnings per share of between 12.5p - 14p as it reported an increase in available liquidity to deal with the coronavirus impact.

Cineworld said on Thursday that its lenders have agreed to waive the leverage covenant on its credit facility for the June testing date, and increased its leverage covenant to 9.bx net-debt-to-EBITDA for the December testing date.

Payment services group PayPoint reported a rise in full-year profit and revenue on Thursday, with growth across most business areas.

Public transport operator FirstGroup said it had generated more cash than expected in the first month of the new financial year as coronavirus lockdown measures started to ease.

Bodycote is cutting more than 700 jobs and closing factories after underlying revenue fell by more than a third in April because of the Covid-19 shutdown.

The value of British Land's property fell 10% in the last financial year pushing the real estate company to a net loss of more than £1bn as the value of its retail sites fell sharply.

Auto Trader Group updated the market on the support it was providing customers during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis on Wednesday, following confirmation from the UK government around the reopening of vehicle retail in England.

Drinks maker Britvic deferred its interim dividend as it weighed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which it said was still hitting profits at around £12m - £18m a month.

Asset manager St James's Place reported a small uptick in net inflows for the month of April, as it hailed "resilience" in a challenging environment but cautioned over an uncertain outlook.

Hammerson is looking for a new chief executive after David Atkins stepped down after a decade in charge at the commercial property company.

EasyJet Chief Financial Officer Andrew Findlay has resigned just days after the airline's founder Stelios Haji-Ioannnou failed to remove him and three other leading board members.

Luxury car maker Aston Martin confirmed the departure of chief executive Andy Palmer and his replacement by Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers.

Softcat said revenue and profit rose in its third quarter and that its business was proving resilient during the Covid-19 crisis.

Plumbing and heating parts distributor Ferguson said on Tuesday that chief financial officer Mike Powell has resigned to take up the same role at paper and packaging company Mondi.

Ultra Electronics said on Tuesday that its ERAPSCO joint venture with Sparton DLS has won subcontracts valued at $204.6m from the US Navy for the manufacture of sonobuoys.

Economic news

UK car production was almost wiped out by the Covid-19 shutdown in April as factories produced less than 200 cars, industry figures showed.

More than 75 travel industry firms have called on the UK government to scrap plans to force visitors to forcibly quarantine visitors on arrival.

A Bank of England ratesetter has warned the economy is likely to recover slowly from the Covid-19 crisis and called for "aggressive" action to limit the risks.

The government has spent £6.8bn providing financial support to 2.3m self-employed workers in under two weeks since the scheme was launched, official figures showed.

A quarter of businesses using the UK government's coronavirus Job Retention Scheme said they would struggle to contribute to furloughed workers' salaries from August, according to the Institute of Directors (IoD).

The Bank of England's chief economist has said the central bank is not remotely close to a decision on adopting negative interest rates in the latest tweak to the BoE's guidance on the subject.

Oxford University's attempts to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus could run into an apparently unexpected hurdle, the head of its research team said.

Retail sales fell at a near record pace in May as the sector was hit by a second month of the Covid-19 lockdown that closed all but essential stores, a Confederation of British Industry survey showed.

The British government on Tuesday revealed the full list of retailers that can reopen under new coronavirus lockdown easing guidelines, with fashion and betting shops set to open doors on June 15.

UN officials said they will meet with over a dozen world leaders on Thursday to discuss shoring up financial support for developing countries struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.

International events

Eurozone inflation fell to a near four-year low in May as energy prices slid, according to figures released by Eurostat on Friday.

The European Commission proposed setting up a €15bn fund to invest in strategic companies that have been especially affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Consumer confidence in the US steadied in May but uncertainty about the future course of the pandemic continued to cloud the outlook as did expectations for a sharp rise in prices, the results of one of the most closely-followed surveys revealed.

Eurozone economic sentiment ticked higher in May, according to figures released by the European Commission on Thursday.

Firings in the US continued at a furious pace during the past week, albeit at a moderately slower pace, and hirings picked up.

A key lead indicator for US home sales registered its largest ever recorded drop last month, albeit amid signs that a bottom might now be in place.

Global energy investment was set to plunge by a record $400bn this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, threatening the security of future supply and moves to cleaner alternatives, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

France's economy could contract by 20% in the second quarter as it felt the impact of lockdown measures taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the INSEE official statistics agency said on Wednesday.

The German government intends to lift a travel warning for tourist visits to 31 European countries from mid-June if the Covid-19 situation allows, according to reports.

The World Health Organization on Monday decided to temporarily suspend its trial of hydroxychloroquine to combat the deadly coronavirus over safety concerns.


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