Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
ScS [LON:SCS], one of the country’s largest flooring and furniture retailers, has published a half-year trading update covering the period to January 23rd. Sales were 13.9% higher compared to the previous year, as a result of pent up demand following the first national lockdown which saw the business – including its distribution network – shuttered. Although online sales are up, the company notes that given the tactile nature of the products – and arguably the fact that purchasing typically isn’t time sensitive – there’s a belief that another spike in sales will be seen once lockdown concludes. The company notes it has no debt, over £90m on hand and access to a further £20m via government financing if required. When the brakes do come off, this could be an interesting play to watch.
Investment company 3i [LON:III] has a Q3 performance update out today. There seems to be little of concern here, with targets all remaining as expected including the plan to increase dividend payouts by 6.5%. The company also remains well financed – meaning it will be well positioned to snap up distressed assets in the months ahead.
Fresnillo [LON:FRES] has published a Q4 production update this morning, covering the period to the end of December. There’s a fair bit of detail in the note so plenty to dig through, but the trend seems to be on the downside for gold and silver, although by-product production of less-valuable lead and zinc is higher. A quick look ahead suggests that the impact of COVID will accelerate silver production in the current FY, although gold output is set to show another annualised decline as a result of a landslip at one mine and lower ore quality being found at another.
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