Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Tesco [LON:TSCO] has this morning published numbers for Q1, covering the period to the end of February. Sales are up across the group 7.9% on a like for like basis, but as would be imagined, the impact of COVID-19 has delivered some interesting stats. UK Online sales were up 48.5%, with the figure for May being up 90%, as the number of available delivery slots more than doubled. Despite this swing higher, the company expects operating profits for the full year to be at a similar level to what was seen in 2019/20, although given the macroeconomic outlook a degree of uncertainty prevails here, too.
Half year results from brewer Marston’s [LON:MARS] are out today, although as this is covering the period to March 28th, the impact from COVID-19 is minimised with sales taking a £40m hit. That means the half year profit of £34.2m a year ago tumbled to just £9.4m. The company is naturally looking ahead to the July 4th reopening of pubs and notes that the majority of its premises are freehold, whilst 90% have outside space. The company notes it has £118m of liquidity headroom and following swift action in the wake of the lockdown, has reduced its cash burn to £10m a month.
There’s a pre-close trading update from online gambling group 888 [LON:888] out today. In recent weeks, average daily revenue has been significantly higher, up by 34%. In other words, people in lockdown have been hitting the internet casinos. As a result the company expects its full year EBITDA to be significantly ahead of expectations. For that number to come in despite the disruption to sports gambling underlines just how much money has flowed into casino-based products with the company highlighting its encouraging performance in Poker. The business sees itself as well positioned to benefit from a longer term shift to digital services.
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