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Three Quick Facts: FirstGroup, PageGroup, Marstons


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

#1. FirstGroup’s better than expected performance ups profit forecasts

There’s a pre-close trading statement out from FirstGroup [LON:FGP] today following the conclusion of H1 on 30th September. Cost savings on the bus division along with better than expected demand for open access train operators Lumo and Hull Trains means that the company now forecasts that full year adjusted operating profits will come in some £14m-£20m higher than previously stated. Interim results will be published on 23rd November.

#2. Lack of suitable candidates pressures PageGroup

Recruiter PageGroup [LON:PAGE] has posted Q3 earnings today, noting that gross profits are down by 7.9%, with UK and US markets both performing poorly. EMEA (excl UK) was the best performing region but it’s a candidate shortage that is driving the key considerations for the business. Initiatives to reduce the cost base are ongoing, but ultimately it does seem ironic that more applicants for fewer jobs will have the potential to turbocharge growth here. FY operating profit forecasts have been trimmed by around £10m.

#3. Marstons shows solid sales growth YoY

Marstons [LON:MARS] has published a trading update for the full year. Total retail sales were up 11.3% YoY and the strong momentum has continued into the new trading period. Critically food sales provided support during the wash out summer months where drinkers stayed away. Head office headcount costs have been trimmed by around £5m, the benefit of which will be seen in the next FY and other inflation cost pressures are seen as abating, too.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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