(Alliance News) – Stocks in London were set to open lower on Tuesday, following a forecast by the International Monetary Fund warning the UK economy will shrink this year, despite growth elsewhere.
Britain’s economy will slam into reverse this year as the cost-of-living crisis hits households hard and will see the worst performance of all the advanced nations, the IMF said.
In its latest World Economic Outlook update, the IMF downgraded its UK gross domestic product forecast once again, predicting a contraction of 0.6% against the 0.3% growth pencilled in last October as Britain looks set to suffer more than most from soaring inflation and higher interest rates.
But it nudged up its outlook for UK growth in 2024 to 0.9%, up from the 0.6% expansion previously forecast.
Among the other G7 nations, the IMF’s 2023 GDP predictions show growth of 1.4% in the US, 0.1% in Germany, 0.7% in France, 0.6% in Italy, 1.8% in Japan and 1.5% in Canada.
In early UK company news on Tuesday, British American Tobacco said it plans to implement a number of senior management changes and a new regional structure to streamline its business.
Pets at Home upped its full-year guidance on the back of a good third quarter. ITM Power’s outlook looked more gloomy on the back of poor interim results.
Here is what you need to know at the London market open:
FTSE 100: called down 0.3% at 7,758.1
Hang Seng: down 1.9% at 21,650.78
Nikkei 225: closed down 0.4% at 27,327.11
S&P/ASX 200: closed down 0.1% at 7,476.70
DJIA: closed down 260.99 points, or 0.8%, at 33,717.09
S&P 500: closed down 52.79 points, or 1.3%, at 4,017.77
Nasdaq Composite: closed down 227.90 points, or 2.0%, at 11,393.81
EUR: down at USD1.0842 (USD1.0867)
GBP: down at USD1.2345 (USD1.2375)
USD: down at JPY130.16 (JPY130.35)
Gold: down at USD1,914.52 per ounce (USD1,923.73)
(Brent): down at USD84.09 a barrel (USD85.93)
(changes since previous London equities close)
Tuesday’s key economic events still to come:
11:00 CET EU flash GDP
09:55 CET Germany labour market statistics
08:30 EST US employment cost index
08:55 EST US Johnson Redbook retail sales index
09:00 EST US house price index
10:00 EST US consumer confidence index
16:30 EST US API weekly statistical bulletin
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended Brexit, insisting that leaving the EU had brought significant achievements and offered a “huge opportunity”, three years after the withdrawal agreement entered force. “In the three years since leaving the EU, we’ve made huge strides in harnessing the freedoms unlocked by Brexit to tackle generational challenges,” Sunak said in a statement ahead of Tuesday’s three-year anniversary since the country formally left the EU. He said Brexit was a “huge opportunity to deliver” on his priorities on growth, employment and social mobility. The prime minister who will also mark 100 days in office this week said the UK had “forged a path as an independent nation with confidence” and “that momentum hasn’t slowed”.
Just under a fifth of private renters in England and Wales would have ideally bought a home already if they could, according to a survey carried out for a landlords’ membership organisation. Around three-quarters (76%) of private renters want to buy at some point in the future, the research for the National Residential Landlords Association found. More than two-fifths (45%) of private renters want to buy their own home during the next 12 months but believe they cannot do so. Some private renters said that not having enough income was a reason they had not been able to buy a home and some cited a lack of job security. Not having a sufficient deposit and waiting to see if house prices will fall were also given as reasons why people had not yet bought a home.
BROKER RATING CHANGES
Berenberg cuts M&G to ‘hold’ (buy) – price target 218 (260) pence
Barclays raises WPP to ‘overweight’ (equal weight) – price target 1,200 (850) pence
Barclays cuts Relx to ‘equal weight’ (overweight) – price target 2,585 (2,785) pence
COMPANIES – FTSE 100
Johnson Matthey has agreed a long-term strategic partnership with Plug Power for hydrogen power. The London-based speciality chemicals company said the partnership brings together its own hydrogen technologies with Plug’s fuel cell and electrolyser solutions. It will last until at least 2030. Chief Executive Liam Condon said: “For the rapidly developing hydrogen economy, this is a game-changer. By bringing together one of the largest fuel cell and green hydrogen companies in the world with JM’s technology and manufacturing capabilities, we’re creating volume and scale for green hydrogen that hasn’t existed until now.”
British American Tobacco plans a number of senior management changes and a new regional structure to both streamline, and accelerate, the transformation of its business, it said. The company’s new structure will consist of three regions: US, Americas & Europe, and Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa. In addition, two new management board roles will be created in order to ensure clarity of ownership, accountability and focus: a chief transformation officer and a director for Combustibles. The company named Regional Director of Europe Johan Vandermeulen as the CTO, and appointed Luciano Comin as director of Combustibles.
COMPANIES – FTSE 250
Synthomer reported 2022 revenue of GBP2.6 billion and underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the range of GBP262 million and GBP268 million. This is in line with company’s expectations, it said. Looking ahead, the Essex-based chemicals company said it is making “good progress” on its plan to deliver cash savings of between GBP150 million and GBP200 million by the of end 2023 from strategic initiatives and operational actions to reduce costs, capital expenditure and working capital. Synthomer will report its full-year results on March 28.
Pets at Home said that consumer revenue in its financial third quarter to January 5 was up 9% year-on-year with growth underpinned by a record number of consumers and volume growth. Total revenue increased by 8.8% in the quarter to GBP347.5 million, with like-for-like revenue up 8.3%. Looking ahead, the pet supplies retailer now expects pretax profit to be at the upper end of the current market consensus range of between GBP126 million and GBP136 million. Previously, the company had guided pretax profit of around GBP131 million. It said gross margin was in line with management expectations in the third quarter.
ITM Power reported revenue of GBP2.0 million in the six months to October 31, down from GBP4.2 million a year earlier. The hydrogen-generating electrolyser system manufacturer’s pretax loss widened to GBP56.5 million from GBP15.3 million. Cost of sales climbed to GBP45.6 million from GBP6.8 million in the first half of 2021. Looking ahead, ITM said it expects full-year revenue to be around GBP2 million and its adjusted Ebitda loss to be in the range of GBP85 million to GBP95 million. Chair Roger Bone said: “We raised capital to pursue an expansion strategy and in doing so underestimated the competencies and capabilities required to scale up and to transition from an Research & Development company to a volume manufacturer. As a consequence, we set unrealistic targets for project completion. This has produced an unacceptable financial performance.”
By Sophie Rose, Alliance News reporter
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