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Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.


AIM-listed biotech Novacyt [LON:NCYT] has provided the market with an update this morning. The company’s stock has risen more than 20-fold since the start of the year, as the business is seen as a driving force in COVID-19 testing. Total sales and current orders for its PCR tests are now worth £120m, with further COVID-related innovations expected to drive fresh sales into the summer. Some have suggested that the bubble being seen in specific medical stocks is akin to the boom, but given the damage being caused to the wider economy, for those with the ability to deliver validated technology, the rewards will be there.

McCarthy & Stone

The impact of COVID-19 has been brutal on many of the UK’s care homes, leading to some suggestions that the model is wrong and that US-style retirement communities or villages may be better placed for infection control. This is something that McCarthy & Stone [LON:MCS], the UK’s leading developer of retirement communities notes in a business update published today. They are in the gradual process of reopening sales channels, but note that fewer cases of COVID on a per capita basis have been reported in its communities than in the UK population of over 65s as a whole. Arguably this has the potential to be more about best practice for public policy, but it certainly helps illustrate benefits of the business model, too. Half year results to April 30th, which will reflect the suspension of sales, will be published on July 15th.

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Card Factory

Full year results are out from Card Factory [LON:CARD] this morning, covering the period to January 31st so well before the impact of COVID-19 was felt. The company did however put in a resilient performance with revenues up 3.6% despite a challenging macroeconomic backdrop, whilst pre-tax profits fell 4.4%. Arguably the real win here could be from the online channels, with seeing sales jump more than 300% since lockdown, whilst the enforced change in shopping habits also seems to have been sufficient to finally get the company’s online gift order division off the runway. Stores will be reopening from mid-June but arguably it’s going to be the half year results issued in the Autumn that will prove the most telling.

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This article is not investment advice. Investors should do their own research or consult a professional advisor.

Tony Cross

Tony Cross

Tony Cross is a market commentator with over 15 years of experience, producing compelling, insightful copy for journalists and investors alike. Focusing on macroeconomics, UK blue chip equities and inter market analysis, Cross's commentary is well regarded for its clarity and ability to cut through the waffle. He has been quoted in publications as diverse as The Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian and The Sun. He has also been a regular guest on both Share Radio and TipTV.

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