Pound Likely to Fall on Covid-19 Fears, UK-EU Tensions

Uncertainty over the rapidly spreading Delta coronavirus variant and a potential escalation in U.K.-EU tensions are likely to weigh on the pound in the short-term, MUFG Bank says. U.K. interest rate rise expectations will remain subdued for the remainder of the summer due to concerns about the economic impact of coronavirus and post-Brexit tensions, MUFG analyst Derek Halpenny says. Rising U.K. coronavirus cases will reduce social mobility and hurt economic activity, he says. Meanwhile, the U.K. is set to present its proposals for overhauling post-Brexit trading arrangements between Britain and Northern Ireland later Wednesday. "The EU is unlikely to accept these changes reinforcing the prospect of a fresh trade conflict," Halpenny says. EUR/GBP is last flat on the day at 0.8643, having hit an 8-week high of 0.8671 overnight.

 
Companies News: 

PCI-PAL Sees Significant FY 2021 Revenue Growth

PCI-PAL PLC said Wednesday that it expects its fiscal 2021 revenue to rise 66% on year, and for its adjusted pretax loss to be slightly better than current expectations.

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EKF Diagnostics 1H Revenue, Adjusted Ebitda Rose

EKF Diagnostics Holdings PLC said Wednesday that revenue and profits in the first half of the year increased amid continued strong business.

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Mysale FY 2021 Total Revenue Fell; FY 2022 Group Revenue Seen Ahead of Market Views

Mysale Group PLC said Wednesday that total revenue for fiscal 2021 fell, and that the board expects group revenue for fiscal 2022 to be ahead of current market expectations.

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Tristel Shares Fall on Writedown of Medical-Device Investment

Shares in Tristel PLC fell Wednesday after the company said it expects to book a noncash impairment of around 800,000 pounds ($1.1 million) on the full value of its investment in a medical-device company focused on women's health.

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Centaur Media 1H Pretax Loss Narrowed as Revenue Recovered

Centaur Media PLC said Wednesday that pretax loss for the first half of 2021 narrowed as revenue recovered from the hit caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and that it is on track to meet its 2023 targets.

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Concurrent Technologies Appoints New CFO

Concurrent Technologies PLC said Wednesday that it has promoted Financial Controller Jonathan Martin to chief financial officer with effect from Aug. 1.

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Arena Events Repays Finance Facility

Arena Events Group PLC said Wednesday that it has repaid and canceled its short-term financing facility in full--as well as 500,000 pounds ($681,500) of compound interest--and that repayment was made from its existing cash resources.

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Bushveld Minerals 2Q Vanadium Production Rose 29% Over the Previous Quarter

Bushveld Minerals Ltd. on Wednesday reported that its vanadium production increased in the second quarter from the previous quarter.

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Simec Atlantis Energy Chairman John Neill to Leave

Simec Atlantis Energy Ltd. said Wednesday that Chairman John Neill won't offer himself for re-election at the annual meeting.

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Quartix Technologies Appoints Richard Lilwall as Next CEO

Quartix Technologies PLC said Wednesday that it has appointed Richard Lilwall as its next chief executive officer, replacing co-founder Andy Walters, who is set to retire.

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Nuformix Shares Fall After CEO Decides to Exit Role

Shares in Nuformix PLC fell Wednesday after the company said Chief Executive Officer Anne Brindley has decided to step down from her role.

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Gresham Technologies 1H Revenue Rose; Says FY Market Expectations Are On Track

Gresham Technologies PLC said on Wednesday that first-half revenue rose 19%, and that it was on track to achieve full-year market expectations.

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Tricorn Shares Drop 25% After It Issues Going-Concern Warnings Over Funding

Tricorn Group PLC shares fell sharply Wednesday after it issued warnings over its ability to continue as a going concern, and said its current funding facilities wouldn't be sufficient to return the company to profitability.

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Bakkavor 2Q Sales Rose as Covid-19 Restrictions Eased

Bakkavor Group PLC said Wednesday that it saw strong sales growth in the second quarter as coronavirus restrictions were eased, with reported revenue rising on year.

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H&T Group Experiencing Good Momentum Since April

H&T Group PLC said Wednesday that it has experienced good momentum since coronavirus-related trading restrictions were relaxed in April.

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Mulberry Swung to FY 2021 Profit; Current Growth Boosted by UK, Asia Performance -- Update

Mulberry Group PLC reported Wednesday a swing to pretax profit for fiscal 2021 on lower costs and said that its year-to-date performance has been boosted by its U.K. operations and continuing growth in Asia.

 
Market Talk: 

Wickes's Strong Update Leaves Further Upgrade Potential, Says Liberum

0954 GMT - Wickes Group's strong trading update reflects its well-balanced, digitally-led, market-leading customer proposition, supported by long-term structural tailwinds in the repair, maintenance and improvement market, Liberum says. While the home improvement retailer expectations look prudent, this suggests risks are weighted to the upside, and Wickes looks like one of the best ways to invest in the sector, the brokerage says. Given Wickes looks far too cheap for the high quality growth, upgrade momentum and strong cash generation on offer, investors should expect the share price to re-rate positively from current levels as it establishes its track record, Liberum says. The brokerage retains its buy rating and target price of 420.0 pence. Shares are up 1.2% at 250.0 pence.

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Bloomsbury Publishing Hints at Potential Forecast Upgrades

0952 GMT - Bloomsbury Publishing's strong performance has continued into the first four months of fiscal 2022, which suggests that potential for forecast upgrades later in the year has increased, Peel Hunt says. Shares in the London-based publisher have progressively rerated, as the success of its strategy became apparent both before and during the coronavirus pandemic, Peel Hunt says. "It has strength in diversity--of subject, route to market, territory. It is a huge store of value in its library of publishing rights. And it has cash to fund dividends--the special dividend announced with the prelims is indicative of this--and to fund acquisitions," the brokerage says. Shares rise 3.7% to 363 pence, and are up 65% compared with a year ago.

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Antofagasta 1H Earnings Forecasts Set to Rise After 2Q

0923 GMT - Shares in Antofagasta rise 3% after the Chilean copper miner reported higher second-quarter gold production and maintained its full-year production guidance, despite lower copper output. RBC Capital Markets says copper and gold production fell short of its estimates, though molybdenum production topped hopes and costs were better than expected. "Despite the slight miss on production, we would expect consensus H1 EBITDA to increase on the back of these results," RBC analyst Tyler Broda says, though the brokerage is keeping its under-perform rating due to weather-related production risks in the second half.

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Hochschild Mining 2Q Cash Suggests Costs Remain High

0919 GMT - Despite benefiting from stronger than expected pricing for gold and silver production, Hochschild's second-quarter cash was reported at $257 million, 7% below Peel Hunt's expectations. With prices providing a strong offset to weak production but cash still coming in below forecast, the brokerage is assuming below-the-line costs and taxes remained high in the first half of 2021 much as they were in the second half of 2020. Shares rise 2.8% to 150.4 pence.

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Next PLC Benefits From Strong Sales at Both Physical and Online Stores

0907 GMT - Fashion retailer Next could leverage a number of tailwinds in recent times to continue to fuel its overperformance, AJ Bell analyst Russ Mould says. "Consumers have had the need and means by which to go on a spending spree, and that's created a tailwind for Next. The retailer has a habit of beating expectations and its latest update is true to form," Mould says. Furthermore, Next has managed to keep its physical stores relevant amid the rise of e-commerce by using them for a combination of click and collect, customer services and as a showcase for products, while also capitalizing on strong online sales, the analyst says. Shares are up 8.3% at 8,006 pence.

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Political Worries Around Antofagasta Seem to Be Dissipating

0901 GMT - It feels like some of the political worries that built earlier this year around Antofagasta are dissipating, Peel Hunt says. The FTSE 100 copper miner said in its second-quarter trading update that the Chilean senate's discussions over resetting mining royalty rates were much wider-ranging than the bill presented to the senate by congress, suggesting that the eventual form of revised royalties would be materially different to the bill, Peel Hunt says. Shares rise 3.4%.

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Next Deserves a More Generous Rating, Interactive Investor Says

0900 GMT - Next's market ratings seem rather harsh, given the continued positive performance of the fashion retailer, Interactive Investor analyst Richard Hunter says. "Even prior to today's strongly positive reaction to the update the shares had risen by 46% over the last year, as compared to a hike of 9.7% for the wider FTSE 100," the analyst says. What is surprising is that despite its progress over recent years, Next has remained stuck at just a hold in terms of consensus rating, albeit a strong one, Hunter says. Shares are up 8.8% at 8,046 pence.

 

Contact: London NewsPlus, Dow Jones Newswires; +44-20-7842-931

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 21, 2021 06:22 ET (10:22 GMT)

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