(Alliance News) - Updates from two leading UK travel firms on Friday showed the continued struggles for the sector caused by virus restrictions.
British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines and Holiday Inn-owner InterContinental Hotels Group reported significantly reduced activity in the first quarter of 2021, with IAG reporting a quarterly loss of more than EUR1 billion. However both expect to benefit from pent up demand.
Holidaymakers from the UK will finally discover which destinations they can visit this summer without quarantining, with Portugal, Iceland and Malta among those expected to be on the travel green list.
Gibraltar and Israel could also make the cut when the list is published on Friday following weeks of speculation.
Quarantine and coronavirus testing requirements for people arriving in England once foreign holidays are permitted from May 17 will be based on a new traffic light system, with destinations placed on green, amber and red lists.
People arriving from a green location will not need to quarantine on their return and will have to take one post-arrival test.
Those returning from an amber list country must self-isolate for at least five days and take two tests.
The red list requires an 11-night stay in a quarantine hotel at a cost of GBP1,750 for solo travellers.
IAG was down 0.5% early Friday, while IHG was up 0.8%.
Here is what you need to know at the London market open:
FTSE 100: up 0.4% at 7,104.60
Hang Seng: down 0.2% at 28,580.78
Nikkei 225: closed up 0.1% at 29,357.82
DJIA: closed up 318.19 points, 0.9%, at 34,548.53
S&P 500: closed up 0.8% at 4,201.62
Nasdaq Composite: closed up 0.4% at 13,632.84
EUR: flat at USD1.2057 (USD1.2053)
GBP: up at USD1.3901 (USD1.3876)
USD: firm at JPY109.15 (JPY109.09)
Gold: up at USD1,818.60 per ounce (USD1,813.85)
Oil (Brent): flat at USD68.42 a barrel (USD68.39)
(changes since previous London equities close)
ECONOMICS AND GENERAL
Friday's Key Economic Events still to come
0930 BST UK CIPS-Markit construction PMI
1100 BST Ireland industrial production
0830 EDT US jobs report for April
1000 EDT US monthly wholesale trade
1500 EDT US consumer credit
Hopes of a Labour party revival under Keir Starmer suffered a blow on Friday after the Conservative party comfortably won the Hartlepool by-election for the UK Parliament. The Leave-supporting North East constituency went blue for the first time in its 47-year-old history, as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson demolished another brick in Labour's so-called "red wall". Voters in the town backed Tory candidate Jill Mortimer to be their next member of Parliament over Labour's Paul Williams â€“ an avid Remainer and second-referendum campaigner during his time as MP for Stockton South between 2017-19 â€“ in a rare by-election victory for a party in power for more than a decade. The Conservative, who declared it a "truly historic result", secured a 6,940 majority winning 15,529 votes to Williams's 8,589.
Following the Hartlepool declaration, attention will turn to results elsewhere as ballots continue to be counted across England, Scotland and Wales in the largest test of political opinion outside a general election. Results from the Holyrood election â€“ where the issue of Scottish independence was a main feature in the campaign â€“ will come through later on Friday and Saturday. Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon's push for a second independence referendum means the stakes are high in the contest.
Job vacancies in the UK have increased at the quickest rate for 23 years as the country continues to emerge from the lockdown, a new study suggests. Despite the increase in jobs on offer, the availability of candidates fell in April amid ongoing pandemic-related uncertainty that is holding people back from seeking new roles, said a report. Skill shortages and improved demand for staff led to increases in starting pay for permanent and temporary staff, according to research among 400 recruitment firms by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation and KPMG.
Chinese service sector business activity signalled a sharp expansion in April, data from Caixin showed, supported by the strongest rise in overall new work for five months. The headline seasonally adjusted business activity index increased to 56.3 points in April from 54.3 in March. The upturn was the strongest recorded in 2021 to date and quicker than the series average of 54.1 points. The faster upturn in business activity was linked to the successful containment of Covid-19, Caixin noted, and a further improvement in demand conditions. Total new orders expanded at the fastest rate since last November. The composite output index - which measures combined output in the manufacturing and service sectors â€“ rose to 54.7 points in April from 53.1 in March.
China's General Administration of Customs said the country's total import and export value was CNY11.62 trillion, about USD1.799 trillion, in the first four months of 2021, a year-on-year increase of 29%. Exports were CNY6.32 trillion, a 34% jump on a year earlier, while imports were CNY5.3 trillion, an increase of 23%. The trade surplus was CNY1.02 trillion, more than doubled year-on-year. In April alone, China's total import and export value was CNY3.15 trillion, up 27% on a year ago and up 4.2% month-on-month. Exports in April totalled CNY1.71 trillion, about USD265 billion, up 22% year-on-year and up 10% when compared to March. Imports were CNY1.44 trillion, up 32% year-on-year, but down 2.2% month-on-month. The trade surplus in April was CNY276.5 billion, 12% lower than a year before.
The Japanese services sector continued to head towards stabilisation in April, according to survey results reported by IHS Markit. The seasonally adjusted Japan services business activity index rose to 49.5 points in April from 48.3 in March. The figure was below the 50.0 threshold that separates growth from decline, but it was the slowest contraction in activity in the current 15-month period of decline. The latest reduction was only modest overall, as firms faced softer restrictions in the first half of April, IHS Markit noted. More positively, demand broadly stabilised. This pushed the seasonally adjusted new business index to the highest level since January 2020.
Japan will prolong a virus state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions and impose restrictions in more areas on Friday as cases surge less than three months before the Olympics. The emergency measures, less strict than the blanket lockdowns seen in other countries, focus on limiting commercial activity with malls closed and bars and restaurants told to shut or stop serving alcohol. They were imposed in Tokyo, Osaka and two other regions in late April â€“ just weeks after a previous state of emergency was lifted â€“ and had been due to end on May 11. But the government is expected to extend the restrictions until the end of May and also impose them in Fukuoka and Aichi prefectures, where infections are spiking.
BROKER RATING CHANGES
DEUTSCHE BANK RAISES BARRATT DEVELOPMENTS TARGET TO 821 (792) PENCE - 'BUY'
BARCLAYS INITIATES TT ELECTRONICS WITH 'OVERWEIGHT' - TARGET 280 PENCE
HSBC RAISES STOCK SPIRITS PRICE TARGET TO 320 PENCE - 'BUY'
COMPANIES - FTSE 100
IAG posted a narrowed loss for the first quarter, but it still topped EUR1 billion. It said its first quarter was badly hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic, as government restrictions and quarantine requirements grounded the travel sector. For the three months to March 31, IAG posted a pretax loss EUR1.22 billion, narrowed from EUR1.88 billion in the first quarter of 2020, as total revenue dropped 79% to EUR968 million from EUR4.59 billion. First-quarter passenger revenue was EUR459 million, down 88% from EUR3.95 billion a year ago. IAG said it generated EUR350 million in revenue from cargo-only flights, which is a first-quarter record. Looking ahead, IAG said it won't be issuing profit guidance for 2021 due to uncertainty over travel restrictions. It noted it has EUR10.5 billion in liquidity and good access to capital markets. The carrier also called on government action for flights to be able to return to the skies, pointing to four measures required. These include, travel corridors without restrictions between countries with successful vaccination rollouts and effective testing such as the UK and the US.
Fellow travel firm InterContinental Hotels Group said trading continued to improve during the first quarter of 2021 and that it was seeing a strong performance in openings and signings. For the three month to March 31, revenue per available room, a key metric in the hotel industry - was down 50.6% from 2019 and down 33.7% versus 2020. IHG noted there was a notable pick-up in demand in March, particularly in the US and China, which continued into April. In Greater China, after temporary domestic travel restrictions were lifted, demand recovered quickly in March towards levels seen in the second half of 2020, IHG added. "Trading continued to improve during the first quarter of 2021, with IHG maintaining its outperformance of the industry in key markets and seeing strong performance in openings and signings as we expand our brands around the world...While the risk of volatility remains for the balance of the year, there is clear evidence from forward bookings data of further improvement as we look to the months ahead," said CEO Keith Barr.
Funds managed by Sherborne Investors have sold their entire 6.0% stake in UK lender Barclays. This would be worth around GBP1.83 billion at the current market price for Barclays. Sherborne said it believes that the risk of and rewards from a new investment opportunity that it has identified offers a better return to its shareholders than a continuing investment in Barclays, and it has started buying securities of the undisclosed target company. Barclays was up 1.2% early Friday.
COMPANIES - GLOBAL
Siemens raised its financial 2021 guidance for the second time after a rise in sales and profit in the most recent quarter. The company reported revenue of EUR14.67 billion in the second quarter of the financial year ending September 30, up 6.4% year-on-year from EUR13.78 billion. Pretax income from continuing operations jumped 53% to EUR1.52 billion from EUR992 million. Siemens again lifted its forecast for the financial year, saying it now expects revenue growth in a range between 9% and 11%. At its first-quarter earnings, the company lifted its guidance to "mid- to high-single-digit" growth from "moderate" growth.
Friday's Shareholder Meetings
Barkby Group PLC - AGM
Catena Group PLC - GM - re Insight acquisition
ConvaTec Group PLC - AGM
Holders Technology PLC - AGM
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC - AGM
Kier Group PLC - GM re Kier Living Ltd sale
Man Group PLC - AGM
Rightmove PLC - AGM
Ruffer Investment Co Ltd - EGM re renewal of authority to issue preference shares
Schroder Asian Total Return Investment Co PLC - AGM
By Tom Waite; email@example.com
Copyright 2021 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.