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WH SMITH PLC

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WH Smith : European stocks mark worst fall in 2 weeks on U.S. job jitters

09/03/2021 | 12:11pm EDT
German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

(Reuters) - European stocks slipped on Friday as U.S. employment data pointed towards slowing growth in the world's largest economy, with retail and travel stocks exposed to American markets suffering the most.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index slipped 0.6%, marking its worst fall in two weeks after data showed the U.S. economy created the fewest jobs in seven month in August. Global equities also tumbled after the data.

Retail stocks were among the worst performers for the day, dropping 0.9%. Bookseller WH Smith, which makes at least a quarter of its earnings from U.S. customers, was the worst performer in the sector, down 3.4%.

Travel stocks sank 1%.

The laggard U.S. data was attributed to a rise in the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. But analysts saw a bright side in the reading, specifically that weakness in the job market would give less impetus to the Federal Reserve to rein in liquidity measures.

"Friday's weaker-than-expected jobs puts less pressure on the Fed to taper its stimulus, which is likely to provide a short-term boost for stocks. The stock market loves stimulus and any indication that the Fed will remain fully accommodative is good news for investors," said Jay Pestrichelli, CEO of ZEGA Financial.

European technology stocks were the best performers for the week, up nearly 2% as investors fled to sectors most resilient to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

A private survey also showed activity in China's services sector contracted sharply in August as restrictions to curb the COVID-19 Delta variant threatened to derail the recovery.

But euro zone business activity remained strong last month, IHS Markit's survey showed, suggesting the bloc's economy could be back to pre-COVID-19 levels by year-end despite fears about the Delta variant of the coronavirus and widespread supply chain issue.

The European Central Bank will meet next week amid calls from several hawkish members to slow down its pandemic-era purchases programme. A Reuters poll sees the bank announcing a cut to its asset purchases, given a recent spike in inflation.

Payments company Nexi slipped 0.8% after Italy's competition watchdog said it had opened an investigation into the company's planned merger with domestic rival SIA.

Spanish fund distribution firm Allfunds jumped 11.7%, and was the best performer on the STOXX 600 after its maiden first-half results beat expectations.

German exchange operator Deutsche Boerse is expected to announce new entrants to the blue-chip DAX index on Friday, part of the index's biggest ever overhaul.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Angus MacSwan)

By Ambar Warrick and Sruthi Shankar


© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ASHMORE GROUP PLC 1.43% 226.2 Delayed Quote.-23.37%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (AUD/USD) 0.76% 0.7113 Delayed Quote.-3.14%
BRITISH POUND / US DOLLAR (GBP/USD) 0.65% 1.2582 Delayed Quote.-7.70%
CANADIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (CAD/USD) 0.27% 0.78193 Delayed Quote.-1.59%
EURO / US DOLLAR (EUR/USD) 0.94% 1.06666 Delayed Quote.-7.23%
INDIAN RUPEE / US DOLLAR (INR/USD) 0.47% 0.012905 Delayed Quote.-4.36%
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (NZD/USD) 0.96% 0.6479 Delayed Quote.-6.31%
WH SMITH PLC -0.13% 1518 Delayed Quote.2.70%
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05/18WALL STREET STOCK EXCHANGE : Powell and Target dampen the mood
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04/27Earnings Flash (SMWH.L) WH SMITH Posts Fiscal H1 Revenue GBP608M
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Financials
Sales 2022 1 348 M 1 680 M 1 680 M
Net income 2022 49,1 M 61,2 M 61,2 M
Net Debt 2022 740 M 923 M 923 M
P/E ratio 2022 38,4x
Yield 2022 0,32%
Capitalization 1 985 M 2 475 M 2 475 M
EV / Sales 2022 2,02x
EV / Sales 2023 1,66x
Nbr of Employees 11 000
Free-Float 99,1%
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 12
Last Close Price 1 520,00 GBX
Average target price 1 934,17 GBX
Spread / Average Target 27,2%
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Managers and Directors
Carl David Cowling Group Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Robert James Moorhead COO, Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director
Henry Eric Staunton Non-Executive Chairman
Simon Emeny Senior Independent Non-Executive Director
Maurice B. Thompson Independent Non-Executive Director
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