European indices have opened slightly weaker on Wednesday ahead of the final eurozone inflation figures. The FTSE 100 is currently down 0.2%.
Meanwhile, across UK stocks, ABF and TUI shares were upgraded, JD Sports announced record results in its year-end results, and Watches of Switzerland reported a strong performance for the FY23.
Associated British Foods saw its shares upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC.
- The upgrade also saw its price target raised to 2,250p from 2,150p.
- The investment group commented on an improvement in Primarks’ profitability which should drive double digit growth.
- The analyst believes this is not being captured by company’s current valuation.
JD Sports announced its year-end results on Wednesday, which saw record results for the 52 week week period to 28 January. “This has been another period of excellent progress for the Group with a profit before tax and adjusted items* for the 52 week period ended 28 January 2023 of £991.4 million,” said Chair, Andrew Higginson.
- Revenue increased to £10.1bn from £8.6bn in the prior year.
- Profit before tax and exceptional items of £991.4m was a record result that was ahead of guidance.
- The group stated they are reassured with trading to date in the new financial period, with growth in organic sales of more than 15% after 13 weeks.
Watches of Switzerland
Watches of Switzerland’s Q4 trading update saw a strong performance in line with guidance and was another record year for the firm. Brian Duffy, CEO commented: “FY23 was another record year of revenue and profitability, with revenue growth of 25% at reported rates and continued EBIT margin expansion.”
- FY23 highlights saw group revenue of £1.5bn, up 25%, with US revenue of £653m.
- Adjusted pre-IFRS 16 earnings before interest and tax are expected to be between £163m and £167m, up from £130m a year earlier.
- The group anticipates a more challenging trading environment for the first half of FY24, leading WOSG to expect modest sales decline in Q1 before normalising in Q2.
TUI shares were upgraded Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley.
- Morgan Stanley analyst Jamie Rollo upgraded TUI and initiated a price target of EUR 8.5.
- The analyst has longer term concerns over the tour operating business and free cash flow.
- He added that these seem priced in following the company’s equity raise.