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Atlantic Capital Markets Month Ahead – Keep Your Shorts On In September

Alan Green and John Woolfitt, Director at Atlantic Capital Markets discuss the month ahead.

We discuss the US Fed August meeting, and indications from Fed boss Jerome Powell that the administration was prepared to ride with higher inflation around 2%. The markets seems to translate as low interest rates for years to come…John gives his view.

John discusses the resilience of mining and commodity stocks in the face of the economic turmoil and Coronavirus threat, along with some of the trading calls from Atlantic over the past month.

Finally we look at some trading ideas and upcoming corporate news in September from Halfords #HFD, Meggitt #MGGT, JD Sports #JD, Travis Perkins #TPK, Tullow Oil #TLW and Costain #COST. Given the volatility in the markets, John advises using the Atlantic Alerts system – moving after the results not before. “If the tide goes out, make sure you’ve got some shorts on”.

Ian Pollard – Sainsbury #SBRY, Asda & Walmart – Merger Banned To Prevent Price Increases

J Sainsbury  plc  and Asda. The proposed merger between Sainsbury”s and Asda has been prohibited by The Competition and Markets Authority  in its final report published today.  As a result, Sainsbury’s, Walmart and Asda have mutually agreed to terminate the transaction.The reasoning behind the prohibition is that the proposed merger would result in increased prices for the consumer. Sainsbury is still unconvincngly trying to argue that it would mean lower prices. I know who I believe. Well done the CMA

Meggitt plc MGGT Revenue during the first quarter was strong  with organic growth of 9% excluding the effects of foreign exchange and disposals.  Strong revenue growth is expected to continue for the remainder of the year which is expected to be more challenging   as air traffic growth is expected to moderate.  The demand for defence products is also uneven despite organic revenue growth of 18%

Image Scan Holdings IGE produced a performance which was slightly behind expectations during the six months to the 31st March but expects to meet market expectations for the year to 30 September 2019. Revenue declined by some 30% and the half year profit of £39,000 was turned into a loss before tax of £178,000.The Chairman says that the recent decline in the share price is disappointing for shareholders but what else can he expect with results like that.

Ixico plc IXI updates that it is on track to deliver robust revenue growth for the first half of the year to the 31st March. Reported revenues are expected to show growth of 22% and the company is confident that full year revenue growth will match that. The momentum in building the order book during the first half of the year has continued from 2018. The order book is now robust  and is expected to enable the company deliver on the +20% revenue growth targets which the business has set for itself.

Synnovia plc SYN expects results for the year to the 31st March will show strong growth in both sales and profits.Although profits will show a significant rise  they are still expected to be marginally below current market expectations. The Industrial Division has performed extremely well as new business came on stream after the unexpected delays encountered in the previous year. Profitability in the Films Division was adversely affected by project delays in the current year.The Group also has to report that it has recently discovered an overstatement of revenue amounting to £1.619 million for the financial year ended 31 March 2018. This it claims, is non material but with repeated delays in its its two main divisions over this year and last, the picture painted by management could have been a happier one.

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Ian Pollard – Lighthouse #LGT Full Year Divi Up By 67%

Lighthouse Group plc LGT claims an excellent set of results for 2018 despite softening market conditions in the second half of the year. With an Interim dividend of 0.20p. per share already paid, a final dividend of 0.50p. per share is now proposed compared to 30p per share in 2017, making a 67% increase for the full year. Further growth is expected for 2019 notwithstanding current market uncertainty.

Travis Perkins plc TPK saw like for like revenue growth of 4.9% in the year to the 31st December, after a strong second half. in which adjusted operating profit, excluding property profits, grew by 10.7%. helped by successful cost reductions. Despite that, adjusted operating profit for the year as a whole fell by 1.3% and the rise in the yearly dividend was limited to 2.2%. Uncertain market conditions are expected to continue in the near future and adjusted operating profit for 2019 is expected to be similar to 2018 at 375m.

Meggitt PLC MGGT Organic revenue growth of 9% reflected a strong performance in growing end-markets for 2018, with 7% growth in civil aerospace, 10% in defence and 19% in energy. On an organic order basis growth came in at 12%. Recommended final dividend of 11.35p gives a full year increase of 5%. The Chief Executive regards it as a landmark year and further good progress is expected for 2019.

Augean PLC AUG is currently experiencing strong initial trading for the start of 2019 after a pleasing 2018 in which adjusted profit before tax increased by 69% and basic earnings per share by 56%. Cost savings exceeded their target. Trading in the first months of 2019 is well ahead of last year. Further growth is targeted in the core key markets of Energy from Waste and North Sea Decommissioning.

Hotel Chocolat Group HOTC Enjoyed strong sales growth across retail, digital & wholesale channels in the six months to the end of December. Revenue rose by 13% and both reported profit before tax and profit after tax rose by 7%. The interim dividend remains unchanged at 6p per share.Christmas was again successful, with the launch of the new Velvetiser Hot Chocolate maker which exceeded initial expectations six-fold.

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Ian Pollard – Intercontinental Hotels #IHG strong first half

Interco.Hotels Grp IHG produced a strong first half performance across all regions with underlying operating profit up 8% and underlying EPS up 25%. The interim dividend is increased by 10%. Hotel demand in the US is strong but momentum is led by Greater China, where double digit growth has been achieved in both RevPAR and net system size, as well as record signings. 9,000 rooms were opened during the half year to the 30th June, more than two thirds of them being covered by the Holiday Inn brand.

Meggitt plc MGGT claims to have produced strong first half trading, with orders up by 24% and revenue by 9%. However on a statutory basis, pprofit before tax fell by 39% and basic earnings per share by 40%. On an underlying basis the figures looked a bit more healthy but growth was still in negative territory on most measures. The interim dividend is being increased by 5%

Intertek Group plc ITRK is increasing its interim dividend by 35% in line with its new dividend policy and after claiming it is on  track on its ‘good to great’ journey. If it is, then perhaps it needs a new transport manager. Revenue fell by 1.8%, organic revenue by 2.3% at actual rates although operating profit and diluted earnings per share both managed tiny rises of 0.8% and 0.9% respectively. At constant rates profit before tax looked somewhat healthier with a rise of 7.5% but on a statutory basis it fell back down to 3%.

Dominos Pizza Grp DOM admits that its 8% rise in the interim dividend is justified by its confidence in the future rather than by its actual half year results, which on a statutory basis saw profit before tax fall by 9.7% and basic earnings per share by 6.5%. Group sales however grew by a healthy 12.8% leading to a rise in underlying profit before tax of 2.5% and 6.8% in basic earnings per share. UK like for like system sales in the six months to the 1st July rose by 8.3% and  22 new UK stores, were opened. For the full year profit before tax is expected to be in line.

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Ian Pollard – Plus 500 #PLUS Benefits From Trump Tariffs

Plus 500 Ltd  PLUS has again, after a strong second quarter, performed strongly in the first half and materially increased its expectations for the Group’s financial performance for the year to the end of  December. What it describes as geopolitical events particularly with regard to US import tariffs have resulted in higher than expected levels of market volatility, resulting in the strong second quarter.

Meggitt MGGT Trading in quarter two has been stronger than expected with good growth across its Civil aftermarket and the military and energy markets. Organic revenue growth for the year in Military is now expected to between 6% – 8%, up from 3-5%whilst total oganic revenue growth is expected to rise to between 4 -6% instead of 2-4%

Trakm8 Holdings plc TRAK reports very strong progress during the year to the end of March with revenue up by 12% and profit before tax by 69%. However revenue and profit for the first half of the current year are expected to be below those for the first half of 2018  the second half figures will be considerably better than last year leading to  higher figures for the full year.

Kromek Group KMK had another good year of growth in the 12 months to the 30th April,with revenue rising by 32% and the loss before tax falling from £3.8m to £2.5m. The customer base was developed and becoming EBITDA positive for the first time, making it a  milestone year on the way to reaching cash flow break even and pre-tax profits.. The momentum has continued into the current financial year

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ITV – “Good Growth” But Flat Profits

ITV plc ITV updates that with nine months of its year now gone, it is confident of delivering good organic revenue growth but does so without putting a figure on what “good ” actually means in numbers. Full year profit will be broadly in line with last year which means little or no growth there. which will not be a surprise having regard to the 1% decline in total external revenue. ITV’s Family share of viewing has risen by 2% and non advertising revenue grew strongly, whilst Online and Pay saw a 41% increase in online viewing. ITV studios delivered a strong performance.

Smiths Group plc SMIN Underlying revenue fell by 2% for the quarter to the 31st October and the only explanation they are going to give you is that primarily this was due to order timing, which can mean many things. No further enlightenment is forthcoming save that full year expectations remain unchanged and there will be a return to growth for 2018.

Vodafone Group VOD produced a strong financial performance in the half year to the end of September, with operating profit rising by 32.5% to 2 bn Euro despite a fall in Group total revenue of 4.1%. The interim dividend is to be increase by 2.1%.  Organic adjusted EBITDA rose by 13.5% enabling guidance for he full year to be increased to 10%. India was a bit of a disaster area due to intense competition which led to a fall in revenue of 15.8% and adjusted EBITDA slumping by 39.2%

Meggitt MGGT has suffered from a fall of 5% in military revenue as the armed forces reduced its expenditure on spares. That however can not go on for ever and a strong performance is expected in quarter 4. Civil aerospace grew by 4% partly offsetting the decline in military spending. Overall the company is on track to meet its guidance for organic revenue growth for the full year.

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