The FTSE 100 closed down on Wednesday as travel and leisure companies were affected by reports that the U.K. government is mulling the introduction of new restrictions to curb the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant. U.K. house builder Berkeley's shares rose on a very good set of numbers as an apparent lack of concern about inflation provided a further reason for investors to jump back in. Still, reports of tighter restrictions "served to send airlines lower with IAG, easyJet and Ryanair slipping back, along with Rolls-Royce ahead of its 3Q trading update tomorrow," Michael Hewson at CMC Markets said.

 
Companies News: 

TUI Says Covid-19 Omicron Variant May Hit FY 2022 Bookings; Shares Fall

Shares in TUI AG fell Wednesday after the company reported a narrowed net loss for fiscal 2021, which missed full-year market views, and warned over the potential effects of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant on bookings.

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Clinigen Shares Rise on Agreed GBP1.2 Bln Takeover by Triton Funds

Shares of Clinigen Group PLC rose as much as 11% in early trade Wednesday after the company said that it has agreed to a 1.2 billion-pound ($1.59 billion) takeover by Triton Funds.

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Stagecoach-National Express Takeover Talks Continue; No 1H Dividend Due to Pandemic -- Update

Stagecoach Group PLC said Wednesday that constructive discussions with National Express Group PLC over a potential takeover are continuing, and that it isn't planning a dividend for the first half of fiscal 2022 due to pandemic-induced uncertainty.

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Taylor Wimpey CEO Pete Redfern to Step Down

Taylor Wimpey PLC said Wednesday that Pete Redfern will step down as chief executive officer after more than 14 years in the role.

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Quiz Swung to a 1H Pretax Loss

Quiz PLC on Wednesday reported a swing to a pretax loss for the first half of fiscal 2022 and said that revenue in the first two months of the second half has increased significantly, in line with pre-Covid-19 levels.

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Berkeley Group 1H Profit, Revenue Increased; Raises FY 2022 Guidance

Berkeley Group Holdings PLC said Wednesday that pretax profit and revenue increased for the first half of fiscal 2022, and raised its full-year earnings expectations.

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Centrica to Sell Spirit Energy's Oil & Gas Assets in Norway

Centrica PLC said Wednesday that it has agreed to the sale of Spirit Energy's oil-and-gas assets in Norway to Equinor ASA and Sval Energi AS for $1.08 billion.

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McColl's Retail FY Revenue, Adjusted Ebitda Set to Decline

McColl's Retail Group PLC said Wednesday that revenue and adjusted Ebitda declined during fiscal 2021 as a whole due to supply-chain disruptions and Covid-19 restrictions, and warned about the business continuing to be hit during the current financial year.

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Glanbia Plans EUR50 Mln Share Buyback Program

Glanbia PLC said Wednesday that it is starting a 50 million euro ($56.3 million) share buyback program to reduce its share capital.

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Equals Group Year-To-Date Revenue Rose; Already Beat Full-Year Views

Equals Group PLC said Wednesday that it has already significantly exceeded its full-year expectations for both adjusted earnings and revenue.

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Games Workshop Says Performance Is In Line With Expectations

Games Workshop Group PLC said Wednesday that its performance since September has been in line with expectations.

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SSP Group FY 2021 Pretax Loss Narrowed on Lower Costs

SSP Group PLC said Wednesday that its fiscal 2021 pretax loss narrowed as revenue decreased after it booked lower costs and said that revenue for the first nine weeks of the new year are averaging 66% of 2019 levels.

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Alpha FX Group Expects to Beat Market Views for 2021 Earnings

Alpha FX Group PLC said Wednesday that its performance has remained strong since the first half of 2021, adding that it expects to close 2021 with revenue and earnings ahead of most market views.

 
Market Talk: 

Centrica's Norway Asset Sale Is Strategically Positive

1120 GMT - Shares in Centrica edge 0.7% lower after the British Gas owner--which owns 69% of Spirit Energy--said it was selling Spirit's oil-and-gas assets in Norway to Equinor and Sval Energi for $1.08 billion. Strategically, the transaction should be seen as a positive as Centrica makes progress to simplify the group, Citigroup says. Financially, the transaction, net of hedging losses--assuming half is crystallized--should stand at around GBP360 million for Centrica's share, the investment bank adds. "Grossing this up based on reserves--at GBP570M--, this crudely compares to our valuation of GBP612M for the full portfolio of Spirit assets. Overall, we believe the transaction is a strategy positive, while value of the transaction is less stellar," Citi analysts say.

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Stagecoach's Potential National Express Merger Likely to Dominate Short-Term Sentiment

1115 GMT - Stagecoach 1H revenue of GBP579.4 was above Visible Alpha consensus expectations of GBP528 million, and USB consensus of GBP532 million, the Swiss bank says. The transport operator said full-year results in its Regional Bus division were likely to be weighted toward the first half, but didn't give any concrete financial guidance due to difficulty in predicting the speed and extent of the post-Covid-19 recovery, UBS says. Regarding Stagecoach's potential merger with National Express, UBS said it expects this to continue to dominate sentiment in the short term, the bank says. The bank rates the stock buy and has a 115 pence target price.

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Potential UK Leadership Contest Could Hit Sterling

1116 GMT - The prospect of a leadership contest for the U.K.'s ruling Conservative Party would weaken sterling at least initially, RBC Capital Markets currency strategist Adam Cole says. "The knee-jerk reaction would probably be negative to the rise in political uncertainty," he says. "But the longer-term implications for GBP have become less clear." Treasury chief Rishi Sunak is the favorite to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson and would likely lead a more fiscally conservative and less populist government, he says. That would have significantly hit sterling when the economy was struggling but the implications are now more ambiguous as the attention turns to fiscal imbalances, he says. GBP/USD falls 0.2% to a one-week low of 1.3200 and EUR/GBP rises 0.4% to 0.8544.

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Centrica's Sale of Norwegian Oil & Gas Assets Should Please Investors

0846 GMT - Investors will be happy to see Centrica shed its interest in the Norwegian Spirit oil-and-gas assets, which should fetch just under GBP400 million in proceeds after the closing of hedging-related costs and minority distributions from the GBP800 million sale, RBC Capital Markets says. It should also be taken positively that Centrica has passed on the GBP830 million of decommissioning costs, the bank says. Given that the Norwegian assets were prominently oil-focused, the deal leaves the remaining U.K. portfolio stationed in gas assets, RBC adds. "We still think this newsflow will be positively received by the market where expectations for any positive net cash disposal by Centrica are very low." Shares in the owner of British Gas are up 0.5%.

 

Contact: London NewsPlus, Dow Jones Newswires; Write to Sarka Halas at sarka.halas@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 08, 2021 13:14 ET (18:14 GMT)

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