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WINNERS & LOSERS SUMMARY: PageGroup Slumps After Profit Warning

Wed, 10th Jul 2019 10:40

(Alliance News) - The following stocks are the leading risers and fallers within the main London indices on Wednesday.


Micro Focus International, down 6.5%. Shares in the software company continued to slide after it reported a drop in revenue and maintained its annual guidance on Tuesday. Micro Focus on Tuesday also said its high-profile acquisition of Hewlett Packard's software business was still proving difficult to integrate into its existing operations, stressing it was a "complex and significant progamme of work". The stock is down 10% since the start of the week.

Ashtead Group, down 1.0%. Morgan Stanley cut the equipment rentals firm to Equal Weight from Overweight.


JD Wetherspoon, up 3.2%. The pub chain said sales were higher in the year so far and its expectations for its current financial year are unchanged. Wetherspoon said its like-for-like sale were up 6.9% for the ten weeks to July 7, with total sales up 6.6% for the same period. Year-to-date, like-for-like sales were up 6.7% while total sales rose 7.4%. The company's financial year ends on July 28, on which date the company expects to have net debt of around GBP745 million. Since its financial year began, JD Wetherspoon has opened five new pubs and disposed of another nine, with no more openings planned for its current financial year. Chair Tim Martin said that "the company's expectation for our annual results is unchanged for the current financial year".

Playtech, up 3.0%. JPMorgan started coverage on the gambling software provider with an Overweight rating.


PageGroup, down 15%. The recruiter said it achieved gross profit growth in its first half but expects an annual operating profit at the lower end of market expectations due to "challenging" macroeconomic conditions. Page said total gross profit for the first half of 2019 was GBP433.5 million, a 9.5% increase as reported and also 9.5% at constant currency. For the second quarter alone, gross profit was GBP224.6 million, a 7.9% rise over its GBP208.2 million gross profit the year before and a 7.4% rise at constant currency. In both the second half and the second quarter, gross profit increased most sharply in the Americas, with reported growth of 21% to GBP69.1 million from GBP57.3 million in the first half and 19% to GBP36.9 million from GBP30.9 million in the second quarter. Europe, the Middle East & Africa - which accounted for 49% of the group's profit in the first half and 48% in the second quarter - also performed well with half-year reported profit growth of 9.3% to GBP213.1 million from GBP194.9 million. Despite this growth, 2019 operating profit is expected to be at the low end of market expectations due to a difficult economic environment, Page said.

Hays, down 6.0%. UBS cut the recruiter to Neutral from Buy, and it also suffered a read-across from PageGroup.


Redx Pharma. Shares in the cancer and fibrosis drug discovery company doubled to 14 pence after it signed a definitive agreement with Nasdaq-listed Jazz Pharmaceuticals to sell its pan-RAF inhibitor programme. As part of the agreement, Redx will receive an upfront payment of USD3.5 million in cash but is eligible to receive up to USD203 million in development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments. The next milestone is the initiation of investigational new drug studies, followed by an IND submission to the US Food & Drug Administration. Redx also is eligible for incremental tiered royalties in "mid-single digit" percentage, based on any future net sales.

Xeros Technology, up 32%. The water saving and effluent reduction technology firm said its patent application for microfibre filters in domestic washing machines has been published. The patent application for the device, trademarked XFiltra, can now be licenced by domestic washing machine manufacturers. The application was published by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Xeros noted that the washing of clothes made from synthetic fibres is "the single biggest source of primary microplastics released into the oceans every year", with up to 700,000 microfibres released into the environment in just one domestic wash cycle.


Superdry, down 0.5%. The troubled fashion retailer reduced its annual payout after reporting a swing to loss in its most recently ended financial year. The company chopped its final dividend to 2.2 pence a share from 21.3p last year, taking the full-year payout to 11.5p per share, little more than a third the 31.2p paid in its financial 2018. Superdry said its revenue for the 52 weeks to April 27 was GBP871.7 million, broadly flat compared to GBP872.0 million reported for the same period a year ago, due to "a difficult retail climate". Superdry explained that its first half performance benefited from discounting and space growth, but it saw poor performance in the second half across all channels. The company posted a loss of GBP85.4 million, compared to GBP65.3 million profit reported a year earlier, as its underlying operating margin declined by 600 basis points to 5.5% from 11.5% the year before. Despite its struggles, Jefferies started coverage on Superdry with a Buy rating.

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