MARKET REPORT: Airlines fly ahead after Lufthansa returns to profit

Airlines shares soared after German airline Lufthansa returned to profit.

The industry went through a torrid time during the pandemic after Covid restrictions brought international travel to a halt.

But now that lockdown measures are a thing of the past and the feel-good factor is slowly returning, airlines are enjoying seeing customers back on the air.

Shares in Wizz Air rose 4.9 per cent, or 134p, to 2865p, Easyjet added 4.2 per cent, or 20.3p, to 505p and British Airways owner IAG rose 2.1 per cent, or 3.18p, to 154, 42p.

The gains came after Lufthansa, Europe’s second-largest airline, said it was “back” when it returned to profit and revealed revenues had nearly doubled by 2022.

Flying the flag: Profits came after Lufthansa, Europe's second-largest airline, said it was 'back' when it returned to profit, revealing revenues nearly doubled in 2022

Flying the flag: Profits came after Lufthansa, Europe’s second-largest airline, said it was ‘back’ when it returned to profit, revealing revenues nearly doubled in 2022

It said it carried 102 million passengers last year compared to 47 million a year earlier.

Elsewhere in the sector, aircraft leasing company Avation returned to profit.

The Singapore-based company, which owns aircraft such as the Airbus A320 used by Easyjet and others, made a profit of £5.6 million in the six months to December 31, after a loss of £13.2 million a years earlier.

Last month, Avation said it wanted to lease or sell its remaining unused aircraft by the end of June. It now has only three off-lease aircraft in its fleet.

The share price rose 4.8 percent, or 6 pence, to 132 pence.

The FTSE 100 rose a touch — 0.04 percent, or 3.07 points, to 7947.11 — while the FTSE 250 rose 0.4 percent, or 74.12 points, to 19,925.77.

Mining stocks made significant gains on the back of higher copper and gold prices.

Antofagasta added 2.7 percent or 43 pence to 1664 pence, Rio Tinto increased 2.1 percent or 126 pence to 6144 pence, Glencore gained 2.4 percent or 12 pence to 523 pence and Anglo American increased 1.8 percent or 53.5p to 3042.5p.

Auto insurer Admiral was on the brink after Citigroup downgraded the stock’s rating from “Buy” to “Neutral” and lowered its price target from 2,423 pence to 2,272 pence. Shares fell 1.9 percent, or 40 pence, to 2111 pence.

Meanwhile, IMI posted an annual profit for the third year in a row.

The engineer said profits rose 17 per cent to £285 million in 2022. Sales rose 10 percent to £2.05 billion.

The dividend payment of 17.4 pence for 2022 will be 10 percent higher than the previous year. But shares fell 0.1 percent, or 1 pence, to 1,582 pence.

National Express added 2.6 percent or 3.6 pence to 141 pence after HSBC raised the bus and coach company’s target price from 230 pence to 235 pence.

The broker also upgraded Aston Martin, raising the luxury car maker’s target price from 160 pence to 194 pence. The share price rose 9.8 percent or 21.5 pence to 240 pence.

But Hunting went the other way. The energy company fell 7.7 percent, or 23.5 pence, to 282 pence after Berenberg downgraded the stock from “buy” to “hold.”

Active Energy Group has been granted a trademark to register its biomass technology Coalswitch in Canada.

In response, shares of the renewable energy company rose 23.5 percent, or 1.22 pence, to 6.42 pence.

CMC Markets’ Michael Hewson said: “The overall mood was also helped by better-than-expected economic reports, which, while worrying about further rate hikes, also helped create a mood that the economic picture may not be as bad as it was. predicted at the beginning of the year.’

Pennon gained 7.1 percent, or 57.5 pence, to 862.5 pence after Deutsche Bank upgraded South West Water’s owner rating from ‘hold’ to ‘sell’.

It sparked an industry-wide rally as United Utilities, the water supplier for the North West of England, rose 2.3 percent, or 23.1 pence, to 1,016.5 pence, while Severn Trent rose 2.3 percent, or 61 pence to 2745 pence and SSE added 0.2 percent, or 3.5p, to 1731p.

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