Stagecoach Trams On

December 5, Wednesday: US markets closed markedly lower last night, as Asian and European markets followed suit. The FTSE 100(-1.44%) was led lower by a slew of commodity, financial and materials stocks.

Wall Street found itself >3% lower at the close as growth worries weighed on US equity markets as investors digested fears of potential yield curve inversion in the US bond market. The difference between three and five year Treasury yields fell below zero, denoting the first part of the yield curve to invert this cycle. The spread moving below zero on two & ten year treasuries has been a precursor to the last seven US recessions, though inversion of three and five year rates occurred for the first time in 2015 – 28 months ahead of the GFC.

Stagecoach(+15.16%) ended the day in the green despite announcing results which would seem disappointing at first glance, as the business experienced a slide in revenue and profit for its half year ended 27 October 2018. The transport operator reported a fall of one-third in revenue to £1.23bn as the company swung to a pretax loss of £22.6m(HY17: £96.7m). Adjusted pretax profit slipped 10% to £87.0m from £96.7m a year prior. Revenue fell 63% in the UK rail division year-on-year due to the expiry of the South West Trains franchise in August last year and the Virgin Trains East Coast franchise in June. North America saw revenues slip 4.1% due to a competitive environment, as management continue to evaluate options for the North American unit. A performance ahead of expectations and the putting to bed of legacy rail operations were looked upon favourably by investors.

At the close European equities were lower, with the FTSE 100 -1.44%, the CAC 40 -1.36% and the DAX 30 -1.19%.

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