FTSE 100 Gains as Banks, Miners, Diageo Rise

0918 GMT - The FTSE 100 edges 0.2%, or 12 points, higher to 7482 as gains for financial and general mining stocks offset losses for precious-metal producers and construction shares. Standard Chartered, HSBC, Barclays, NatWest and Lloyds are all higher after U.S. Fed chairman Jerome Powell laid out a tougher stance on fighting inflation. "The tough talk on rate increases continues, with the central-bank chief refusing to rule out consecutive monthly rate rises during the year," IG analysts say. General miners Rio Tinto, Glencore and BHP are higher, though Fresnillo and Polymetal International lose ground as gold and silver prices drop. House builders are also in the red, though spirits group Diageo gains 0.6% after reporting higher 1H net profit. (philip.waller@wsj.com)

Companies News: 

M&G to Acquire ResponsAbility Investments

M&G PLC said Thursday that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in responsAbility Investments AG for an undisclosed amount.


Hammerson Raises 2021 Guidance After Improved Performance

Hammerson PLC said Thursday that it has increased its 2021 adjusted earnings guidance after an improved performance.


EasyJet 1Q Pretax Loss Narrowed, January Bookings Jump on Easing of UK Restrictions

EasyJet PLC said Thursday that its first-quarter pretax loss narrowed despite the short-term impact of the Omicron variant in December, and that bookings jumped after the U.K. said in January that it would ease pandemic restrictions.


3i Group Nine-Month Total Return Was 32.6%; Net Asset Value Rose

3i Group PLC on Thursday reported a 32.6% total return for the first nine months of the fiscal year as it benefited from a good performance across its investment portfolios.


Whitbread Appoints Hemant Patel as New CFO

Whitbread PLC said Thursday that Hemant Patel has been appointed as its new chief financial officer, succeeding Nicholas Cadbury.


Intermediate Capital 3Q Third-Party Assets Under Management Rose

Intermediate Capital Group PLC said Thursday that third-party assets under management rose during the third quarter and that momentum across its platform underpins the positive outlook.


Diageo 1H Net Profit Rose on Higher Sales

Diageo PLC said Thursday that net profit rose in the first half of fiscal 2022, boosted by better-than-expected sales volume despite unfavorable foreign exchange.


St. James's Place 4Q Net Inflows Rose on Year

St. James's Place PLC said Thursday that net inflows increased in the fourth quarter of 2021, and that it closed the period with record funds under management.

Market Talk: 

EasyJet Gains After 1Q Loss Eases; Rivals Rise

0933 GMT - Shares in easyJet climb 0.8% after the European budget airline reported a narrowed first-quarter pretax loss and higher bookings following a U.K. move to ease pandemic restrictions. "The reduction in travel restrictions announced by the U.K. government on Jan. 5 and the further drop in testing requirements finally gave the airlines some good news and easyJet saw an immediate boost in sales off the back of the announcements," Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Matt Britzman says. "That comes after a tough couple of months where Omicron fears and restrictions meant passenger load dropped down to 67% in December, with a further drop to 50% expected for January." Shares in IAG, Ryanair and Air France-KLM also gain. (philip.waller@wsj.com)

Diageo Seen as Able to Offset Cost Inflation

0921 GMT - Diageo has proved to be a worthy core constituent for investors portfolio due to its pricing power and growth potential, Interactive Investor says. The investment platform says Diageo benefits from the nature of the sector, such as the ability to pass on price increases and productivity savings in order to curb cost inflation, while the move toward "premiumization" of its beverages provides extra protection. Diageo's outlook is also positive, with net sales momentum expected to continue and high expectations over the travel retail business considering that pandemic-related restrictions will be lifted. Shares are up 0.25% at 3,655.0 pence. (michael.susin@wsj.com)

Diageo's 1H Seems Like Recovery From Covid-19 Rather than Gaining New Ground

0900 GMT - Liquor maker Diageo's 1H earnings shows that North America until June was the only region that grew significantly since the onset of Covid-19, which could be seen more as recovery from the pandemic than breaking new ground, RBC Capital Markets says. Diageo performed strongly in Latin America and the Caribbean, beat expectations in Europe and Turkey, but missed sales growth forecasts in North America and Asia Pacific regions, the Canadian bank says. "These are excellent results, but do not alter our view that Diageo's mid-term guidance was set in a fit of over-exuberance", it adds. RBC has an underperform rating on the stock and a price target of 3,100 pence. (michael.susin@wsj.com)

Polymetal 4Q Production Was Strong, Inflation to Weigh in 2022

0845 GMT - Polymetal achieved strong fourth-quarter production as the reported 467,000 gold-equivalent ounces was 11% ahead of the market consensus, Jefferies says. This beat was primarily driven by the Dukat operations as grades improved, the bank notes. However, 2022 guidance includes a 20% increase in cash costs to $850-$900 an ounce compared with expectations of $718, Jefferies says. These cost pressures include consumer prices in Russia and Kazakhstan driving wages and salaries, commodity-driven inflation and bulk and container sea freight rates. In addition, 2022 capital expenditure has been revised $90 million higher. Shares in the precious-metals miner fall 1.9%. (jaime.llinares@wsj.com)

EasyJet Seen as More Profitable Once Capacity Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels

0838 GMT - EasyJet's 1Q was in line with management's expectations, despite the effect of the Omicron coronavirus variant on the final month. The budget airline had increased capacity, a reduced loss and more moderate cash burn, Liberum says. Bookings have recovered and are reacting positively to the U.K. government's recent relaxation over travel restrictions, with Easter bookings being encouraging, the U.K. brokerage says. The airline has taken advantage of the pandemic to improve its cost base, adding to its slot portfolios at key congested airports which typically deliver higher returns, Liberum says. "These changes suggest to us that easyJet should be a more profitable group once capacity has returned to pre-pandemic levels." Liberum rates at buy and has an 800 pence target price. (anthony.orunagoriainoff@dowjones.com)


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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 27, 2022 04:58 ET (09:58 GMT)

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