UK Grocery Price Inflation Continues to Weigh on Poorer Consumers

1108 GMT - The latest report by market-research firm Kantar shows November's U.K. grocery price inflation only slowed modestly, and with food showing the fastest price increases, it is unfairly weighing most heavily on lower-income households, Interactive Investor's Victoria Scholar says in a note. This dynamic is boosting discounters Aldi and Lidl as shoppers are seeking for cheaper prices, Scholar says. "Both businesses enjoyed sales growth above 20% over the 12 weeks thanks to new store openings, as they both steal market share from supermarkets like Morrisons and Waitrose, which suffered from sales declines," Scholar adds. (michael.susin@wsj.com)

 
Companies News: 

Ashtead Group Raises FY 2023 Guidance After Increased 2Q Profit

Ashtead Group PLC said Tuesday that it now sees full-year results ahead of previous expectations after pretax profit in the second quarter rose thanks to momentum in its end markets.

---

Marston's Swung to FY 2022 Pretax Profit on Trading Normalization, Lower Costs

Marston's PLC on Tuesday reported a swing to pretax profit for fiscal 2022, driven by a return to more normalized trading, despite disruption caused by the Covid-19 Omicron variant, and reduced costs.

---

Cochlear's Oticon Medical Deal Raises UK Hearing Implant Market Competition Concerns, Regulator Says

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority said Tuesday that Cochlear Ltd.'s proposed deal for Oticon Medical could have a negative impact on the hearing implant markets and could be referred for further investigation if its concerns aren't addressed.

---

Paragon Banking FY 2022 Pretax Profit Jumped; Plans GBP50 Mln Buyback

Paragon Banking Group PLC on Tuesday reported a 96% rise in pretax profit for fiscal 2022 and said it plans a share buyback of up to 50.0 million pounds ($61.0 million) for fiscal 2023.

---

Telecom Plus Chairman Sells 3.5M Shares at 2,400p Each

Peel Hunt LLP said Tuesday that it has sold 3.5 million ordinary shares in Telecom Plus PLC at 2,400 pence each on behalf of nonexecutive Chairman Charles Wigoder and his family.

---

Victorian Plumbing FY 2022 Pretax Profit Fell on Higher Costs; Implements Dividend

Victorian Plumbing Group PLC said Tuesday that pretax profit for fiscal 2022 fell amid higher costs, but that the new fiscal year has started strongly, and introduced a new dividend policy.

---

SSP Group Upbeat as Travel Rebound Drives Swing to FY 2022 Profit

SSP Group PLC said Tuesday that it is confident of further benefiting from a rebound in travel following the pandemic period, as it set out a swing to operating profit for its fiscal year on higher revenue.

---

ADVFN Seeks to Raise up to GBP6.8 Mln via Open Offer

ADVFN PLC said Tuesday that it is seeking to raise up to 6.8 million pounds ($8.3 million) via an open offer and will use the money toward development of the business.

---

ADVFN Swung to FY 2022 Pretax Loss On Challenging 2H

ADVFN PLC on Tuesday reported a swing to full-year pretax loss, weighed by a challenging second half due to management changes, worsening market conditions and changes to Google search algorithms.

---

Time Out Group Books FY 2022 Pretax Loss Amid Covid-19 Reopening

Time Out Group PLC said Tuesday that it booked a pretax loss for fiscal 2022 as it dealt with the gradual reopening of hospitality in most parts of the world.

 
Market Talk: 

SSP Group Shares Look Cheap on Growing Confidence

1251 GMT - SSP Group's fiscal 2022 results show strong resilience and continued momentum in the global travel market recovery, and its share price stands at a marked discount to its true valuation, Shore Capital says. The owner of bakery chain Upper Crust's confidence and visibility are growing, and there is scope for a fiscal 2023 dividend, Shore analysts say in a research note. "We see the results as highly supportive of the recovery profile, with the building pipeline evidence of the long-term growth potential, which in our view fails to be reflected in the current valuation," the U.K. investment group says. Shore acts as broker to SSP. Shares are up 2.7% at 222.3 pence. (joseph.hoppe@wsj.com)

Phoenix Cash Generation Bodes Well for Higher Dividends

1212 GMT - Phoenix Group Holdings gains 2% after the insurer said it was on track to generate cash in 2022 at the top end of its target range. That sets up the group well to increase its dividend at the full year, Citigroup says. "Overall, no major surprises, but the new-business cash-generation target should be supportive of longer-term dividend increases," Citi analyst Andrew Baker says in a note. (philip.waller@wsj.com)

Paragon Banking Shares Look Good Value After Upbeat FY 2022 Results

1117 GMT - Paragon Banking Group gains 3% after the specialist U.K. lender reported higher pretax profit in the year to the end of September and announced a share buyback of up to GBP50.0 million for fiscal 2023. "At the 3Q22 stage, we remarked that the share price was discounting downgrades unlikely to come," Panmure Gordon analysts write. The company reported operating profit and a dividend for fiscal 2022 that were ahead of consensus expectations as well as robust prospects for the current year, say the analysts. "While the economic outlook remains clouded, the fact is that the residential rental market remains in rude good health--if you're a professional landlord, that is," they say. "With yet more buybacks underway, the shares look good value." Panmure Gordon has a buy rating on the stock. (philip.waller@wsj.com)

Phoenix Group Looks on Track for Dividend Increase

1027 GMT - Phoenix's new business and long-term cash generation should set the foundations for a robust dividend increase, analysts at RBC Capital Markets say in a note as shares rise 2.3%. The Canadian bank expects the European life insurer's mid-term organic dividend to grow 4% a year. However, market consensus expects growth of 2.5%, lower compared with peers such as Legal & General and Aviva, which are forecast to grow around 5% and 4%, respectively, they say. RBC has an outperform rating on the stock and a price target of 740 pence. (michael.susin@wsj.com)

SSP Group's Recovery Continues as Market Overlooks Strength

1026 GMT - SSP Group's fiscal 2022 met prior guidance as travel recovery continued and its accelerating pipeline boosted growth, Jefferies says in a note. The company's newly-issued Ebitda guidance for fiscal 2023 is 3% below market consensus on new site maturity drag and opening costs but the market is overlooking defensive characteristics of the owner of bakery chain Upper Crust, and further clarity around recovery and openings pipeline will be well-received, Jefferies analysts say. SSP's share price has somewhat recovered but remains 50% down on its prepandemic levels, which doesn't fairly reflect the fast recovery in the business and its gains in market share, the U.S. bank says. Jefferies retains it buy rating and 325.0 pence price target on SSP's stock. Shares are up 3.0% at 222.9 pence. (joseph.hoppe@wsj.com)

Ashtead FY Profit Set to Top Hopes as US Arm Gets Boost

1020 GMT - Ashtead Group is among the biggest FTSE 100 risers, up more than 1% after the plant-hire group reported higher second-quarter and first-half pretax profit and forecast full-year results ahead of its expectations. Ashtead is benefiting in its largest market, the U.S., from fiscal policies aimed at improving infrastructure and supply-chain resilience, Hargreaves Lansdown says. "Ashtead's been able to brush aside inflationary pressures and achieve a strong first half with top and bottom-line growth," HL analyst Matt Britzman writes. "Better still for investors, full-year guidance got a bump higher too, as Ashtead's end markets look robust in the face of wider economic uncertainty." (philip.waller@wsj.com)

 

Contact: London NewsPlus; paul.larkins@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 06, 2022 08:19 ET (13:19 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
FTSE 100
Index Chart
From Dec 2022 to Jan 2023 Click Here for more FTSE 100 Charts.
FTSE 100
Index Chart
From Jan 2022 to Jan 2023 Click Here for more FTSE 100 Charts.