Here are three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
#1. AG Barr returns to pre-COVID volumes
Starting with a trading update from AG Barr [LON:BAG], this company seems to impress on a regular basis with earnings news and with volumes now above pre-COVID levels, again today’s statement seems likely to be well received by investors. Full year revenues are now tipped to come in slightly above the guidance last issued in November and whilst inflationary pressures are now coming through, the company expects to see an operating margin of 15.6%, up from 14.8% last year. Full year results will be published at the end of March.
#2. Supply chain problems weigh on Joules Group
Lifestyle play Joules Group [LON:JOUL] has issued a trading update this morning. Results for the first half have been confirmed as in line with expectations, but performance since then – so over the last nine weeks – has been below expectations. Retail footfall remains depressed and new stock is held up in the global supply chain. There’s also continued pressure on margins from freight, duties and distribution costs, but assuming management’s base assumptions are met, pre-tax profit for the full year is expected to be no lower than £5m.
#2. Higher margins but smaller loan book for Virgin Money
A Q1 trading update from Virgin Money [LON:VMUK] is also out today, covering the three months to December 31st. Even this shortened report isn’t the easiest to navigate through, but headlines show contraction with the exception being higher margin unsecured borrowing. Whether that, along with an improved Net Income Margin on a smaller loan book is sufficient to impress investors remains to be seen. The low impairment charges for the quarter are also expected to increase as underlying economic conditions become more strained through 2022.
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