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

Topps Tiles

There’s a first half trading update out from Topps Tiles [LON:TPT] this morning, covering the 26 week period to March 27th. The company saw a good start to the period with sales up 20% in Q1, although with its retail venues being classed as non-essential, these have been closed in recent weeks with a consequent impact on revenues – Q2 came in 17% lower. The company is however confident that as retail reopens it can embrace some momentum from the DIY boom, whilst forward indicators also suggest commercial sales are set to rebound.

Fuller Smith & Turner

Fuller Smith & Turner [LON:FSTA] has published a trading and financing update this morning, which includes news of a £55m placing of shares. The company notes that in the 388 day period between 20th March 2020 and 12th April 2021, their pubs have only operated for 27% of the time, although after last summer’s reopening, demand picked up quickly with trade at the end of August almost 80% of the previous year’s levels. The funding will enable the company to reduce debt as well as allowing for the consideration of growth opportunities in the longer term. There will be casualties in the hospitality sector as a result of the lockdowns – Fuller’s clearly doesn’t intend to be one of them.

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Aquis Exchange

Exchange services group Aquis [LON:AQX] – which recently completed the acquisition of NEX – has final results for the year to December 31st 2020 out today. The headlines here paint a solid picture with revenues up 67% and the company turning a £0.5m profit, up from a £0.9m loss a year ago. Market share measured across Europe grew to 4.7% in the final quarter, up from 4.2% in the comparative period and is reported at 5% for Q1 ’21. The exchange appears to be making great headway when it comes to improving market quality, too, with spreads down 64% as a result of its Market Maker scheme and total membership now standing at 39 issuers.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand 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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Here are some of the smaller companies we are following most closely. They all represent significant growth stories in our view. Our in-depth reports go into more detail on why we like them.

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