Here are three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
#1. JD Wetherspoon trade continues to normalise
JD Wetherspoon [LON:JDW] has issued interims results for the first half to 26th January this morning. The gradual easing of lockdown restrictions is helping the company return to more normal trading patterns and although these numbers still show revenues down by 13% from the 2020 comparator, a modest operating profit was delivered. Looking at more current data, for the last three weeks trade was just 2.6% below the equivalent period in 2019 reflecting an improving trend. Whilst this needs to be viewed in light of the inflationary backdrop, the note adds that company wide, it expects input costs to rise slightly below the level of headline inflation.
#2. Kropz new plant now on stream in South Africa
Over to AIM now and Kropz [LON:KRPZ] has a note out, showing that production of phosphorous from a site in South Africa has now started. This takes on added significance given Russia’s key position in the fertilizer market and whilst it will take Kropz some time to ramp up production, it’s difficult not to see this as being a well-timed development.
#3. Essentra revenues return close to pre-pandemic levels
Full year numbers from components and solutions company Essentra [LON:ESNT] are out today, covering the period to 31st December. Headline revenue growth looks strong year-on-year, but it sits just below levels seen pre-pandemic. that said, momentum is certainly heading in the right direction and the company is restructuring to become a pure-play components provider. Global supply chain issues are expected to continue delivering some headwinds and there’s also the challenge of inflation. The company is also squaring up to GBP appreciation against a number of major currencies, but shareholders are being rewarded with a close on doubling of the dividend to 2019 levels. That’s still a long way below previous years, but it’s likely to be welcomed nonetheless.