Smurfit Results Pack Delight

Wednesday, 13 February: Wall Street rallied yesterday as optimism grew around easing tensions about the ongoing trade disputes between the US and China. This meant gains of >1% across most major US bourses, and Asian markets followed suit to see substantial ground made up this morning. This as expected fed into Europe, with the FTSE opening c.0.5% higher.

Some of the main stories from the day included results from the likes of Countrywide, Galliford Try, Smurfit, Dunelm and Clinigen. Before we go through those though, the UK also released inflation data this morning. Figures showed January inflation down from 2.1% in the previous month to 1.8%, the lowest read for 2 years, and of course, falling below the Bank of England’s 2% target. The fall was bigger than forecast and attributed the move to lower fuel prices and falling energy bills.

Countrywide: Shares climbed over 10% for the real estate agent today despite reporting that they expected to report a halved adjusted EBITDA for 2018, citing challenging market conditions and the fall in its opening sales pipeline.

Galliford Try: Shares climbed 6%, despite again a report which showed a fall in pre-tax profit and one that stressed of their concerns going forward on the political landscape, a similar feeling for most British construction companies.

Dunelm: First half pre-tax profit surged 24%, driven by a strong online performance. Again they warned that Brexit uncertainty had led them to stockpiling.

Clinigen Group: Shares in the healthcare company climbed over 18% today after they agreed to buy the rights for a cancer drug called Proleukin from Novartis, in a deal which could cost around $210m in cash.

Smurfit Kappa: The packaging firm saw their shares climb 7% after reporting higher revenue, dividends and earnings. Revenue was up 4% and the dividend was hiked by 12%. Unfortunately booking costs from the Venezuelan plant. The results help lift peers DS Smith and Mondi.

As we leave US markets are continuing their climbs, with the Dow up 0.4%, alongside 0.3% and 0.1% gains for the S&P and NASDAQ and Oil is currently 2% higher at $63.80 p/bbl. Finally this afternoon Ford issued a frank warning to the UK in the outcome of no-deal. As they ramp up preparations to shift production from the UK.

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