Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Greggs [LON:GRG] has released its preliminary full year results this morning, with sales up 13.5% and pre-tax profits up more than 30%. The store network continues to grow – although with some prudent closures along the way – and the company is now commencing a roll out with Just Eat to further drive sales. Shareholders are being rewarded with a 25% hike in dividends and the company notes that it will consider a special dividend at the time of interim results being published. 2020 has started on a strong note too despite February’s adverse weather.
Q3 numbers from equipment rental company Ashtead [LON:AHT] have painted an upbeat picture this morning, with a 6.5% increase in pre-tax profits. The US market continues to drive growth, whilst UK operations have been rebalanced to take account of the more challenging market conditions. Interestingly whilst acknowledging that the company’s performance will be dictated by macroeconomic conditions, the note makes no apparent reference to COVID-19. However, with so much uncertainty as to what happens next, further clarity may be necessary before a meaningful assessment can be made.
Global recruiters Robert Walters [LON:RWA] have also published full year results today. The headline encapsulates matters well, noting a ‘resilient performance despite global turbulence, outlook remains uncertain’. Profits have nudged their way higher off the back of a marginal decline in revenues. The company does note however that the market remains unpredictable given the COVID19 outbreak, something which is likely to have a negative impact on full year profits.
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