Sodexo 1Q Revenue Rose; Backs FY 2022 Outlook
Topic of the day
Sodexo SA said Thursday that revenue jumped in the first quarter of its fiscal year 2022, while it backed its guidance for the full year despite Covid-19-related restrictions weighing on its activities. The French food-services and facilities company said revenue in the period stood at 5.26 billion euros ($5.95 billion), up from EUR4.43 billion. Organically, revenue increased 17.5%, and Sodexo said activities are back to 95% of pre-pandemic levels. Sodexo backed its FY 2022 views with an organic growth between 15% and 18% and an expected underlying operating margin close to 5% at constant exchange rates. The company said it maintains its outlook at this stage despite the impact that the Covid-19 Omicron variant will have on its activities. “With regards to Omicron, the recent sanitary measures taken by governments will have an impact on activity, but it is too early to assess whether it is significant or not,” it said.
On the Swiss stock market, prices were unable to recover after a weak start to the day as the session continued on Thursday. The SMI lost 0.9 per cent to 12,792 points. Among the 20 SMI stocks, there were 14 price losers and 6 price gainers. 35.96 (Wednesday: 29.78) million shares were traded. The small group of SMI daily gainers consisted almost exclusively of financial stocks, because banks and insurers potentially benefit from a higher interest rate level. Zurich Insurance, Swiss Re, Credit Suisse and UBS rose between 0.1 and 1.1 per cent. UBS received additional tailwind from a positive study by Jefferies with an increased price target. The analysts expect positive surprises when the first quarter figures are presented on 1 February. In the second tier, Julius Baer also gained about 1 per cent. Only Novartis (+0.6%) was at the top of the SMI. The pharmaceutical giant announced a cooperation with the US company Alnylam to research alternatives for liver transplantation.
European equity indices fell on Thursday, following the US markets the day before after the release of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve (Fed) monetary policy meeting. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 1.3% to 488.2 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 and SBF 120 lost 1.7% and 1.6%, respectively. In Frankfurt, the DAX 40 dropped 1.4% and the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.9%. Next PLC on Thursday raised guidance for the financial year ending in January, and said its profits will increase further in fiscal 2023. The London-listed fashion retailer now expects to achieve a pretax profit of 822 million pounds ($1.11 billion) for fiscal 2022 compared with previous guidance of GBP800 million. This would be up from GBP729 million in fiscal 2020, before the pandemic, and from GBP342 million in fiscal 2021. As for fiscal 2023, Next forecast that its pretax profit will grow a further 4.6%, to GBP860 million. Societe Generale SA is betting on the sharing economy and the shift to electric vehicles as it aims to make its vehicle-leasing subsidiary ALD SA a core pillar of its business, the French bank said Thursday, setting out a merger between ALD and peer LeasePlan. Under the agreement with LeasePlan’s current owners, a consortium led by London-based TDR Capital, ALD will acquire 100% of the company in a cash-and-share deal totaling 4.9 billion euros ($5.54 billion), SocGen said.
U.S. stocks fell Thursday in a choppy trading session, dragged down by investor worries about the impact the Federal Reserve would have on markets if it raises interest rates faster than once anticipated. All three major U.S. indexes finished the session lower, erasing intraday gains. The S&P 500 edged down 4.53 points, or 0.1%, to 4696.05. The Nasdaq Composite declined by 19.31 points, or 0.1%, to 15080.86. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 170.64 points, or 0.5%, to 36236.47. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. rode the latest Covid-19 surge to its highest retail sales increase in 20 years, but Americans’ scramble for vaccines and tests has overwhelmed workers and dented growth in prescriptions. The Deerfield, Ill., drugstore chain said sales and profits rose in its latest quarter, and raised its full-year forecast as demand for Covid-19 vaccines and at-home tests continued to draw customers to its stores. Walgreens said it administered 15.6 million Covid-19 vaccinations in the latest quarter, which ended Nov. 30, and provided 6.5 million Covid-19 tests, including over-the-counter at-home tests. The chain said it now expects to administer 30 million vaccines this year, up from 25 million, as booster shots get approved for more groups. Conagra Brands Inc. expects Covid-19’s Omicron variant to stress food supply chains and stretch staffing at the maker of Birds Eye frozen vegetables and Slim Jim meat snacks. The Chicago-based food manufacturer said more of its employees are testing positive for Covid at a time when heightened consumer demand is already outstripping the company’s available supplies.
At the end of the week, the stock markets in East Asia and Australia recover from the losses of the previous day. On the Hong Kong stock exchange, the Hang Seng Index is gaining 1.3 per cent. Technology stocks are in demand there, with ADRs already rallying in US trading on Thursday. Alibaba is up around 4 per cent. JD.com is up 3.7 per cent and Netease is up 2.5 per cent. In Shanghai, prices are up 0.5 per cent on average.
The two-year Treasury yield remained elevated at an almost 2-year high in Asia after it led an advance in rates on Thursday as the Fed's Bullard heightened the prospect of a March interest-rate increase. The move extended the rise in yields that followed the release of the Fed's December minutes.
UBS raises Sanofi target to EUR 117 (116) – Buy
Deutsche Bank lowers Novo Nordisk target to DKK 735 (775) – Hold
Citi raises Michelin target to EUR 170 (165) – Buy
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