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FTSE 100 Closes 0.2% Lower as UK Treasury Chief Delivers Spring Statement

03/23/2022 | 12:02pm EDT

The FTSE 100 slipped on Wednesday, closing 0.2% lower as U.K. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak presented his Spring Statement to the country's parliament. "We're seeing modest losses in the likes of U.K. focused companies like house builders and consumer discretionary on disappointment after the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave a downbeat assessment of the U.K. economy, as the Office for Budget Responsibility downgraded its outlook for 2022 and 2023," CMC Markets said. Banks and insurers also fell, after having outperformed on Tuesday. Still, oil companies and miners helped the FTSE 100 beat other European indexes on Wednesday.

Companies News: 

Ultra Electronics 2021 Revenue, Pretax Profit Fell on Stronger Pound, One-Off Loss

Ultra Electronics Holdings PLC said Wednesday that revenue and pretax profit fell in 2021 due to a stronger pound against the dollar and a one-off loss on the disposal of two small loss-making noncore businesses.


Saga Says FY 2022 Pretax Loss Narrowed Despite Covid-19 Backdrop

Saga PLC reported on Wednesday a significantly narrowed pretax loss and a material increase in revenue for fiscal 2022, and said it continued to apply its turnaround strategy amid a challenging Covid-19 backdrop.


Petrofac 2021 Pretax Loss Widened on Drop in Revenue

Petrofac Ltd. said Wednesday that its pretax loss widened in 2021 on a fall in revenue.


Dignity Swung to 2021 Pretax Profit; Says New Strategy Means Lower Short-Term Profits

Dignity PLC said Wednesday that it swung to 2021 pretax profit after booking lower costs, and that its new strategy will lead to lower profits in the short term.


Halma Sees FY 2022 Profit in Line With Market Expectations, Strong Sterling Could Hurt Profit

Halma PLC said Wednesday that fiscal 2022 adjusted pretax profit is expected to be in line with market expectations due to increased demand across the group, but warned that a strong sterling could have a negative impact on its profit.


RWS Holdings Expects FY 2022 Results in Lower End of Range of Expectations

RWS Holdings PLC said Wednesday that it expects fiscal 2022 results to be around the lower end of the range of current market expectations.


James Cropper to Miss FY 2022 Adjusted Pretax Profit Market Forecasts

James Cropper PLC said Wednesday that it will miss adjusted pretax profit market expectations for fiscal 2022 due to the rise in wholesale gas prices over the latest quarter, which has hurt its paper unit.


Pendragon Swung to 2021 Pretax Profit, Sees Potential Disruption From Ukraine Conflict

Pendragon PLC said Wednesday that it swung to a pretax profit on increased revenue in 2021 after booking strong performance in all parts of the business, but warned that the Ukraine conflict might hit new vehicle supply.


Henry Boot 2021 Pretax Profit More Than Doubled

Henry Boot PLC said Wednesday that 2021 pretax profit more than doubled on a strong performance from residential land sales, industrial development, investment property revaluation gains and returns from joint ventures.


AB Dynamics 1H Performance Was in Line With Views; FY 2022 Forecasts Unchanged

AB Dynamics PLC said Wednesday that its performance for the first half of fiscal 2022 is in line with management expectations, adding that it has been able to mitigate the effects of inflationary cost pressures by raising its prices for new orders.


Quartix Technologies Sees 1Q Performance in Line With Market Views

Quartix Technologies PLC said Wednesday that it expects first-quarter performance to meet market expectations, with a 25% on-year increase in new installations and a gain in annualized recurring revenue that was significantly ahead of the growth rate a year earlier.

Market Talk: 

Diageo Needs to Ensure Smirnoff Brand's 'Not Russian' Message is Clear

1135 GMT - U.K. drinks company Diageo needs to make sure that consumers understand well that its Smirnoff vodka brand isn't Russian or produced in Russia, Jefferies says. The U.S. bank notes that Smirnoff--which represents 7% of the group sales--had a spike in consumer interest on social media following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, making it important that the "not Russian" message be well understood to avoid a consumer backlash. Jefferies sees Diageo as well-positioned to face higher cost-of-goods-sold and says its growth model is working. Jefferies has a buy recommendation on the stock with a price target of 4,100.0 pence.


Judges Scientific's Recovery Momentum Is Evident

1118 GMT - Although Judges Scientific delivered a good 2021 performance, analysts at Shore Capital note some tailwinds in the form of tax and capitalized development expenses in the published EPS performance. Nevertheless, momentum for the precision-instruments maker is evident with six of the portfolio businesses showing a record performance in the year and others recovering from the pandemic with benefits from this still to come in 2022, Shore says. Analysts say they are aware of the uncertainties stemming from the war in Ukraine and note that inflationary trends on costs and stiff supply chains have to be managed. "We confidently hold our current forecasts at this juncture, but would otherwise expect to upgrade later in the year reflecting the order book," Shore says.


UK Inflation Overshoot Adds Pressure on BOE to Raise Rates

1113 GMT - A bigger-than-expected increase in U.K. consumer prices in February is likely to add further pressure on the Bank of England to keep tightening monetary policy, says social investment network eToro. Official data showed the annual rate of inflation rose to 6.2% in the month, beating expectations for a 6% increase, according to a WSJ survey of economists. "It will get worse before it gets better, with inflation set to rise to over 8% next month, under the twin impact of the 50% rise in the household energy cap and further fuel price rises," it says. This piles pressure on the BOE to continue raising interest rates to contain inflation, it says.


Pendragon Takeover Talk in Focus, Developments Seen as Material for Share Price

1110 GMT - Pendragon's 2021 results were slightly ahead of company guidance and takeover talk is a key focus for the U.K. motor dealership following reports on Saturday that its largest shareholder Hedin Group previously made a 28 pence-a-share offer, Berenberg says. "Pendragon's share price has risen by 24% since the reports, and any further developments will of course likely be material for the share price," the German bank says, adding that Hedin was said to be considering a further offer. Elsewhere, continuing margin support from supply-chain constraints, coupled with increasing confidence in underlying improvement delivery, leads Berenberg to raise its estimate of Pendragon's 2022 EBIT by 16%. Berenberg has a buy rating on the stock and raises its target price to 36 pence from 30 pence.


Nickel Prices Rise as Trading Returns to New Normal

1058 GMT - Nickel prices gain at the London Metal Exchange after trading was finally successfully rebooted on Tuesday--at the fifth attempt, Commerzbank says. Benchmark nickel prices are up 13.2% according to FactSet, to $32,240 a metric ton. The metal had hit daily lower limits on four consecutive trading days from March 16, having been previously suspended in trading from March 8 after a short-squeeze sent prices surging as high as $100,000 a ton. Following a rapid slump in prices at the start of Tuesday's trading, which saw the lower limit narrowly missed, prices picked up again and were down 10.3% at the end of the day's trading, Commerzbank says. "Whether trading settles back into more normal patterns will become evident over the next few days," it adds.


Halma Gains After 'Robust' FY Trading Update

1018 GMT - Shares in Halma rise 0.9% after the FTSE 100-listed safety-equipment supplier forecast 2021/22 adjusted pretax profit in line with market expectations due to increased demand, but warned that strong sterling could weigh. The trading update for the year to the end of March was robust, Jefferies says. Lack of detailed guidance for the year ahead may disappoint investors, though the company said orders have continued to track ahead of revenue and ahead of last year, the brokerage says. "One item of interest for us is the drop-off in M&A to GBP55 million in 2H22 from GBP111m in 1H22, though the company does say the pipeline remains 'healthy'," Jefferies says.

Contact: London NewsPlus, Dow Jones Newswires; Write to Sarka Halas at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

03-23-22 1302ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AB DYNAMICS PLC 0.45% 1125 Delayed Quote.-36.44%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / BRITISH POUND (AUD/GBP) -0.16% 0.565 Delayed Quote.4.99%
BRITISH POUND / US DOLLAR (GBP/USD) 0.04% 1.2272 Delayed Quote.-9.39%
CANADIAN DOLLAR / BRITISH POUND (CAD/GBP) -0.05% 0.631991 Delayed Quote.7.37%
CANADIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (CAD/USD) 0.01% 0.7752 Delayed Quote.-2.67%
COMMERZBANK AG -0.25% 7.328 Delayed Quote.9.55%
DIAGEO PLC 3.83% 3671 Delayed Quote.-9.04%
DIGNITY PLC 0.49% 411 Delayed Quote.-30.34%
EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP) -0.05% 0.85992 Delayed Quote.2.11%
EURO / US DOLLAR (EUR/USD) -0.01% 1.0553 Delayed Quote.-7.48%
FINTECH ACQUISITION CORP. V 0.00% 9.84 Delayed Quote.-0.81%
FTSE 100 2.68% 7208.81 Delayed Quote.-2.38%
HALMA PLC 4.49% 1999.5 Delayed Quote.-37.52%
HENRY BOOT PLC -3.56% 298 Delayed Quote.4.93%
INDIAN RUPEE / BRITISH POUND (INR/GBP) -0.28% 0.010417 Delayed Quote.5.26%
INDIAN RUPEE / US DOLLAR (INR/USD) -0.15% 0.012783 Delayed Quote.-4.67%
JAMES CROPPER PLC -3.45% 980 Delayed Quote.-25.19%
JUDGES SCIENTIFIC PLC 0.15% 6860 Delayed Quote.-18.33%
LONDON BRENT OIL 2.22% 112.44 Delayed Quote.44.36%
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (NZD/USD) 0.45% 0.63123 Delayed Quote.-8.10%
PENDRAGON PLC 10.34% 22.4 Delayed Quote.-3.45%
PETROFAC LIMITED -0.58% 119.1 Delayed Quote.3.30%
QUARTIX TECHNOLOGIES PLC 0.00% 320 Delayed Quote.-16.88%
RWS HOLDINGS PLC 2.56% 360.2 Delayed Quote.-44.58%
SAGA PLC 3.33% 189.1 Delayed Quote.-33.65%
ULTRA ELECTRONICS HOLDINGS PLC 12.31% 3448 Delayed Quote.8.43%
US DOLLAR / BRITISH POUND (USD/GBP) -0.04% 0.814863 Delayed Quote.10.36%
US DOLLAR / RUSSIAN ROUBLE (USD/RUB) -1.63% 53.6 Delayed Quote.-27.29%
WTI 3.07% 107.53 Delayed Quote.38.53%
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