Atos lowers 2021 targets after disappointing first half
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IT services group Atos lowered all of its targets for the current financial year, after a disappointing first-half performance. Atos now expects revenue at constant exchange rates to be "stable" for the whole of 2021, compared with growth of 3.5% to 4.5% previously expected. The group's operating margin is expected to be around 6%, compared to a range of 9.4% to 9.8% previously expected. Atos also expects to generate "positive" free cash flow for the full year 2021, compared to its previous target of between €550m and €600m. The group has revised its outlook downwards after a disappointing performance in the first six months of the year. According to unaudited data, the group's revenues fell by around 1.5% in the second quarter, "due to an acceleration of the decline in traditional infrastructure activities in a context of stronger migration to the post-Covid cloud", explained Atos. The company expects this effect to continue in the second half.
In line with the neighbouring European stock exchanges, a friendly trend prevailed on the Zurich stock exchange on Monday. The gains were spread across all sectors, with hardly any sectoral trends discernible. The SMI gained 0.8 per cent to 12,082 points. Among the 20 SMI stocks, there were 19 price gainers and 1 price loser. 28.31 (previously: 33.99) million shares were traded. Partners Group (+2.5%) was by far the day's winner. The asset manager will present its figures for the first half of the year on Thursday. Richemont (+1.5% to 112.35 francs) and Swatch (+1.3%) followed in second and third place. Both shares probably benefited from the fact that the Chinese central bank eased its monetary policy somewhat. China is an important customer market for both Richemont and Swatch. In the case of Richemont, a price target increase by the analysts at Stifel from 103 to 117 francs may also have helped. Credit Suisse (+0.6%) was unaffected by the loss of its head of compliance at the Swiss Universal Bank division. Floriana Scarlato had only taken up this position in March this year. Following financial scandals, the head of the investment bank Brian Chin and the head of group risk Lara Warner had left in spring.
European stock indices rose on Monday, with bullish momentum outweighing caution, following in the footsteps of Wall Street, at the start of a week with a busy international agenda. The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.7% to 460.8 points. QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) announced preliminary results for the second quarter of 2021 that exceeded the outlook for net sales and adjusted earnings per share. Net sales rose 28% (+24% at constant exchange rates, CER) to $567.3 million in Q2 2021 and above the outlook for about 20% CER growth. Currency movements against the U.S. dollar had a positive impact of about four percentage points on sales at actual rates in Q2 2021 over the year-ago period. For the first half of 2021, net sales rose 39% (+35% CER) to $1.135 billion. Defensives including pharmaceutical, healthcare and real-estate stocks are among the top performers. UK airline stocks fall even after the nation's government confirmed most of England's remaining coronavirus restrictions would be lifted on July 19. "Airlines are likely to continue on a relatively bumpy path as the UK shows its willingness to allow Covid levels to surge as a result of the reopening efforts," IG analyst Joshua Mahony says.
U.S. stocks edged higher to records as investors prepared for corporate earnings season to kick off this week. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both gained 0.4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.2%. All three indexes closed at records. Earnings season begins in earnest Tuesday, and investors will be watching to see if companies' results-and what executives have to say about business in coming months-justify the high valuations in the equity market. Virgin Galactic shares turn negative within a couple of minutes of Monday's open on heavy trading volume. Short interest has been trending down to around 20% ahead of the latest update due Monday, reducing the squeeze that helped propel it higher ahead of Richard Branson's successful test flight over the weekend. Analysts said the absence of fresh indications of planned selling prices also weighed on the shares, recently down around 10%. Lionheart, a special-purpose acquisition company, rose 0.1% after saying it will merge with MSP Recovery, a healthcare claims recovery firm. Earnings season begins Tuesday and investors will be closely watching to see if companies' results justify the high valuations in the equity market. Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Global slumped 2.5%. Beijing's moves to crack down on data policy and on overseas IPOs have battered the recently listed company's shares. It said on Monday that some of its apps in China, such as those used by drivers, will be taken down, which may adversely impact its revenue
The upward trend on the stock exchanges in East Asia and Australia continues on Tuesday - supported by good news from Wall Street. Financial stocks in particular are sought after in the region ahead of the upcoming quarterly results of the major US banks. The Shanghai Composite recovered from initial losses and turned 0.2 per cent higher, also supported by better-than-expected Chinese economic data.
JP Morgan said that "momentum traders such as CTAs, retail investors and pension funds have likely been behind the recent bond rally," instead of "tactical institutional bond investors." The rally on prices saw yields decline to levels only seen during the pandemic, but JPM forecasts a rebound. "The decline in bond yields in recent weeks does not signal a change in the medium-term fundamental picture, which in our mind is a picture of strong growth, continued inflation surprises and of a shift to central bank tapering towards the end of the year."
UBS rises Publicis target to 57 (56) EUR – Buy
UBS rises Mediaset target to 3,10 (2,60) EUR – Neutral
UBS lowers Telefonica Deutschland Target to 2,70 (3,10) EUR – Buy
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