MARKET REPORT: Exceptionally good earnings give Mr. Kipling owner Premier Foods a boost

Investors in Premier Foods were in for a treat after the maker of Mr Kipling cakes raised its earnings forecast for this year as business boomed.

The group, whose brands also include Ambrosia, Saxa and The Spice Tailor, said profit for the year to April 1 would beat expectations by around £135m, an increase of around 10 per cent on the previous year.

It said sales growth for the last quarter should be at least 10 percent higher. The trade was driven by its grocery branch – home to brands such as Oxo cubes and Bisto.

Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods, whose brands also include Ambrosia, Saxa and The Spice Tailor, said profits for the year to April 1 should be around £135m

Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods, whose brands also include Ambrosia, Saxa and The Spice Tailor, said profits for the year to April 1 should be around £135m

The optimistic figures followed from January, when Premier Foods reported that sales in the 13 weeks to December 31 were up 12 percent compared to a year earlier.

Peel Hunt analyst Charles Hall said the performance was “encouraging.” It rose 10.4 percent, or 12 pence, to 127 pence.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent, or 10.31 points, to 7919.48, while the FTSE 250 fell 0.5 percent, or 107.50 points, to 19956.61.

Sterling fell below $1.19 against the dollar after the US Federal Reserve warned interest rates should rise further than expected, boosting the dollar.

Spirent Communications warned that revenues for this year would be lower than hoped as customers cut spending.

The FTSE 250 company, which tests mobile 5G and Wi-Fi networks, fell 14.5 percent or 30.5 pence to 180.5 pence.

The slump came even as sales rose 5 per cent to £506.8 million in 2022, while profits rose for the sixth year in a row.

Stock watch – Wincanton

Wincanton warned profits would be “substantially lower” than hoped after the IRS pulled the plug on a lucrative contract.

The logistics company signed a five-year contract with HM Revenue and Customs in 2019 to operate locations to monitor incoming shipments, but HMRC has decided to hire a different supplier.

It now expects earnings for the 12 months to the end of March 2024 to be lower than the £63m forecast by analysts.

Shares fell 27 percent, or 87.5 pence, to 223 pence.

Revolution Bars became loss-making due to transportation strikes and rising costs. The group, which owns 69 bars and 21 pubs, made a loss of £100,000 in the 26 weeks to December 31.

It reported a profit of £4.3 million the previous year. Sales rose 2.6 per cent to £76 million, but fell 6.8 per cent in the second half so far. Shares fell 13.5 percent, or 1.2 pence, to 7.7 pence.

The vote was not helped by Reach after the Daily Mirror’s owner warned that trading remained difficult.

The newspaper publisher posted lower sales and profits for the year to Christmas Day after costs rose 40 percent while advertising demand weakened. It fell 14 percent, or 12.65 pence, to 78 pence.

At Aston Martin, the luxury car maker’s rally showed little sign of exhaustion. It rose 7.6 percent, or 20.9 pence, to 297 pence after Bernstein raised his price target from 180 pence to 300 pence. Shares are up about 90% this year.

WPP fell 0.7 percent, or 7.5 pence, to 1,025 pence after the advertising giant bought German healthcare specialist PR firm 3K Communication.

It was a day to remember for IWG after the office space provider reported its highest-ever turnover. Increased demand for flexible working saw turnover rise 24 per cent to £3.1 billion last year.

It posted a profit of £147m for 2022, after reporting a loss of £87m a year earlier. Shares rose 2 percent, or 3.8 pence, to 192.05 pence.

Axel Springer, Purplebricks’ largest shareholder, said his representative on the online broker’s board has stepped down to ensure the process of finding a buyer is fair. Shares fell 12.5 percent, or 1.19 pence, to 8.31 pence.

Rio Tinto has agreed to pay £12.65 million to settle a US Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into contractual payments made to a former consultant more than a decade ago. It slid 1.3 percent, or 78p, to 5894p.

Estate agent Foxtons benefited from higher rents last year but warned that higher interest rates were taking a toll on the housing market. Shares rose 2.2 percent, or 0.9 pence, to 42.1 pence.

H&T, the UK’s largest pawnbroker, posted record online sales in January, reaching £1 million in a month for the first time. It fell 0.4 percent, or 2 pence, to 449 pence.

Just Group rose 11.1 percent, or 9.1 pence, to 91 pence after its £336 million profit last year was 35 percent higher than analysts had expected.

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