London shares are on the front foot after the latest “stunning“ results by chipmaker Nvidia boosted stock market confidence.
Fuelled by AI demand, the California-based company beat Wall Street’s lofty expectations to set the tone for today’s strong session.
On the corporate front in London, FTSE 250-listed recruitment firm Hays and UK oil and gas producer Harbour Energy have posted results.
FTSE 100 Live Thursday
Shares rally after Nvidia results beat
Travelodge revenues rise 22%
FTSE closes at 7,333.63
Thursday 24 August 2023 16:48 , Daniel O'Boyle
The FSTE 100 closed up 0.2% at 7,333.63 today after much of its early gains fizzled.
Top risers include JD Sports and Ocado, while Aviva and Legal & General were among the fallers.
OnlyFans owner collects $485 million in dividends as firm invests profits into Ethereum
Thursday 24 August 2023 15:58 , Daniel O'Boyle
The owner of British adult content subscription service OnlyFans has collected almost half a billion dollars after the firm’s revenues topped $1 billion for the first time in 2022.
US-based Ukrainian Leonid Radvinsky, who bought the company in 2018, has collected some $485 million in dividends since the start of last year, accounts filed with Companies House today show amid a surge in demand for the site’s services, which are predominantly focused on pornographic material.
In its accounts the company said it had invested some of its capital into the cryptocurrency Ethereum.
Over 50 million new users signed up to the site in the 12 months to November 2022, the firm said, while over 1 million new content creators joined its platform. Users spent a combined $5.5 billion on the site.
Travelodge sees hotels sell out ahead of Taylor Swift tour amid concert boost
Thursday 24 August 2023 15:20 , Daniel O'Boyle
Budget chain Travelodge said hotels have already sold out near venues for next year’s highly anticipated Taylor Swift concerts across the UK as it benefits from a boom in demand for big-name performances.
The group said its hotels in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Cardiff are already sold out, while a number of sites close to Wembley are also fully booked ahead of the dates next summer.
It comes as the firm is being boosted by superstar tours, with this year’s sell-out concerts from Beyonce and Harry Styles helping it notch up a record set of half-year results, with earnings jumping by nearly 50%.
Comment: ‘the Government can no longer afford to play the wrong hand on affordable housing’
Thursday 24 August 2023 14:27 , Daniel O'Boyle
For so long London’s property market enjoyed a reputation as a rock-solid investment opportunity where bricks and mortar delivered huge returns.
But it wasn’t just property speculators who betted on the capital’s housing. As central government grants diminished under austerity, councils and housing associations morphed into developers, leveraging consistently high prices to pay for much-needed affordable homes
The so-called “cross subsidy” model, which is usually combined with government grants, relies on building mixed housing developments with a portion of private homes. These are then sold off on the open market with the cash raised funding the affordable element.
At the very least, the approach allows some affordable housing to get built. But critics point out that you can only sell public land for development once and it relies on a strong market. It worked in the good times but do the numbers still stack up?
US jobless claims at 230,000
Thursday 24 August 2023 13:32 , Daniel O'Boyle
The US recorded 230,000 jobless claims last week, slightly below expectations and down form last week.
The lower-than-expected number will continue to boost hopes that the world’s largest economy is on course for a ‘soft landing’ from inflation.
However, statistics also show a sharper-than-expected decline of 5.2% in durable goods orders last month.
Former BBC boss Mark Thompson reportedly lined up to run CNN
Thursday 24 August 2023 13:25 , Daniel O'Boyle
Former BBC chief Sir Mark Thompson is being lined up to be the next head of the struggling CNN cable news network, it was reported today.
Thompson, 66, is also a former chief executive of the New York Times and is a well respected name in US media circles.
According to the Semafor news platform the ex-BBC director general is a favourite to succeed Chris Licht, who was fired in June after a tumultous 14 months at the helm.
Since then Warner Bros. Discovery owned CNN has been led by a triumvirate of veteran network leaders on an interim basis.
City Comment: Short-termism is hobbling the UK’s leadership hopes
Thursday 24 August 2023 12:45 , Daniel O'Boyle
The list of the top 10 shareholders in chip maker Nvidia, arguably the world’s most exciting stock, makes for fascinating reading.
As well as the founder Jensen Huang, there are eight major US funds and investors — and one foreign one.
That is Norway’s state pension fund — effectively a sovereign wealth fund — Norges Bank Investment Management.
Its stake is only just over 1%, but it is worth some $12.6 billion. It is a typically shrewd punt from the fund that invested the country’s oil and gas windfall for the long-term benefit of its population.
Cambridge engineer taps ex-Tory Treasurer to invest in Earzz home listening device
Thursday 24 August 2023 11:42 , Daniel O'Boyle
A PhD graduate from Cambridge University has tapped the former Treasurer of the Conservative Party for investment in a new listening device aimed at simplifying sound monitoring at home.
The tool, known as the Earzz Smart Home Monitor, allows users to stay connected to the goings-on of their home by constantly monitoring for the sounds that they’d like it to detect, such as a car pulling on to the drive, the bleeping of a fridge door left open or a running water tap. It can even get as specific as detecting a baby crying versus baby coughing.
Former Tory Co-Treasurer James Lupton, who attracted controversy for being given a peerage after he was found to have donated millions of pounds to the Conservative Party, controls a 13% stake in the business, company filings show.
Bank Holiday to cap best summer since 2019 for London tourism
Thursday 24 August 2023 10:54 , Daniel O'Boyle
London’s best summer for tourism in four years will end with a flourish over the August Bank Holiday break with airports forecasting their busiest weekend since before the pandemic.
Heathrow bosses said they expected almost one million passengers, up 25% on last year, to pass through the west London hub over the four days of the weekend, a mix of visitors arriving from abroad to enjoy the capital and late-summer holidaymakers on their way to destinations such as New York and Dubai.
Major events attracting tourists this weekend include the Notting Hill carnival and the Reading and All Points East music festivals. Tourism bosses have been delighted with how quickly both domestic and foreign tourism have bounced this summer after three years wiped out or overshadowed by the pandemic, despite continuing concern about the impact of the abolition of duty-free shopping for overseas visitors.
Nvidia results boost risk appetite, Scottish Mortgage higher
Thursday 24 August 2023 10:18 , Graeme Evans
Nvidia’s latest blockbuster results and hopes that global interest rates are close to their peak today boosted stock market confidence.
Fuelled by AI demand, semiconductor giant Nvidia smashed Wall Street’s lofty expectations and also raised the bar on hopes for the current period.
Deutsche Bank analysts called it “another stunning quarter” as they made a 60% upgrade to their earnings estimates in 2025/26.
Nvidia shares hit another record in extended hours trading, with the latest leg in this year’s tech sector revival underpinning a rebound of 2% for the Hang Seng index.
The rally also reflected softer interest rate expectations after PMI readings yesterday pointed to a weaker-than-expected August for major global economies.
European markets rose for a second session in a row today but the weighting of “old economy” stocks limited the FTSE 100 index to 0.4% or 31.89 points higher at 7352.45.
Companies with technology or US exposure on the risers board included Ocado after a gain of 13.2p to 750.8p. Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, which has stakes in Nvidia and semiconductor industry supplier ASML, rose 9.6p to 673.6p.
JD Sports Fashion also got back to winning ways, picking up 3.85p to 137p after a slide this week triggered by a profit warning at US peer Dick’s Sporting Goods.
On the fallers board, Aviva and Legal & General shares dropped by 2% as they began trading without the value of their latest dividend awards.
The FTSE 250 index improved 116.08 points to 18,342.57, with US-focused publisher Future among those on the risers board after a gain of 3%.
UK risks losing £65m in exports without heat pump switch, analysts warn
Thursday 24 August 2023 10:09 , Daniel O'Boyle
The UK risks losing out on £65 million every year by the end of the decade if it does not speed up the rollout of heat pumps, energy analysts have said.
Three-quarters of the UK’s boiler exports are to countries that have phase-out dates before 2030 and the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said the Government is jeopardising this income by not providing greater support to heat pump manufacturing.
Using United Nations trade data, the ECIU said exports of central heating boilers roughly halved between 2019 and 2022 – from £150 million to £85 million – which they suggested may be down to countries moving away from gas boilers as a result of the energy crisis and aims of reaching net zero.
Ikea sets new Oxford Street store launch date and unveils unique version of Frakta bag
Thursday 24 August 2023 09:44 , Jo Hodgson
Ikea is pushing back the opening date of its new Oxford Street shop, but customers won’t have to wait too long to snap up furniture and meatballs the retailer said as it revealed latest launch plans and a unique version of its signature Frakta bag.
The Swedish retailer unveiled a 128 feet wide and 62 feet tall blue ‘bag’ covering the scaffolding of the site previously home to TopShop’s flagship. That came as new details of the future Ikea branch were given.
A huge renovation project is underway at the grade II listed building which the chain’s investment arm bought.
Sunak chooses Bletchley Park to host AI summit in November
Thursday 24 August 2023 09:12 , Daniel O'Boyle
Rishi Sunak’s AI Safety Summit will be held at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes in November, the Government confirmed today as the Prime Minister seeks to position the UK at centre of global leadership in artificial intelligence.
The conference of AI leaders, which will take place on the 1st and 2nd November, seeks to consider the risks of AI, especially at the frontier of development, and discuss how they can be mitigated through internationally coordinated action.
Rishi Sunak said in a statement: “The UK has long been home to the transformative technologies of the future, so there is no better place to host the first ever global AI safety summit than at Bletchley Park this November.”
FTSE 100 rallies, JD shares stage recovery
Thursday 24 August 2023 08:34 , Graeme Evans
Nvidia’s forecast-beating results have given a lift to stock market sentiment in Europe, with the FTSE 100 index up by 46.35 points at 7366.88.
Ocado, the grocery warehouse technology company, is among the best performing stocks in London after its shares rallied 3% or 17.6p to 755.2p.
It was also a better session for JD Sports Fashion, which rallied 3.85p to 137p after suffering earlier in the week due to the read-across from poor trading updates by other US retailers.
The possibility that interest rates are near their peak also lifted housebuilding stocks for the second day in the row, with Taylor Wimpey up 2.35p to 113.6p and Persimmon 14.5p higher at 1017p.
The FTSE 250 index improved 157.77 points to 18,384.26, with the UK and US-focused publisher Future among those on the risers board after a gain of 3%.
Market snapshot: Tech hopes lift FTSE
Thursday 24 August 2023 08:33 , Daniel O'Boyle
The FTSE 100 has risen higher this morning amid tech optimism after Nvdia’s blockbuster results last night.
Take a look at our full market snapshot below:
Record night in London for Travelodge as concertgoers and sports fans help profits soar
Thursday 24 August 2023 08:07 , Michael Hunter
Travelodge had its best night ever in London this summer, revealed as revenue at the budget hotel chain rose by over a fifth.
A spectacular run of events in the capital in early July, over the first weekend of Wimbledon, drew the crowds. There was Bruce Springsteen at Hyde Park and Blur at Wembley as well as Iron Maiden at the 02 and the Weeknd at the Olympic Park.
It also pointed to the return of face-to-face business meetings after the end of Covid restrictions. It expects the biggest networking event of the year to be the upcoming Defence and Security Equipment International at the ExCeL centre in Docklands next month.
For the first half of the year, the operator of over 80 London hotels reported revenue of £478 million, up over 22%, and earnings up almost a half to £104 million.
Nationwide, strong bookings for events including the Grand National and the Six Nations rugby helped drive demand for nights at its 598 venues.
Nvidia delivers ‘another stunning quarter’
Thursday 24 August 2023 07:41 , Graeme Evans
Nvidia’s guidance for current quarter revenues of $16 billion (£12.6 billion) is significantly higher than Wall Street elevated expectations at closer to $12.5 billion (£9.8 billion).
The latest upgrade comes three months after Nvidia delivered the semiconductor industry’s largest increase to guidance for a single quarter.
Deutsche Bank called last night’s update “another stunning quarter” as demand for AI remains as robust as ever, particularly from data center customers.
The bank said: “Importantly, Nvidia somewhat dispelled investor concerns on supply bottlenecks, expecting supply to grow each quarter through next year.
“Overall, there is very little to pick at after such a strong report and guide, and our 2025/26 earnings per share estimates rise by about 60% as a result.”
Nvidia shares topped $500 last night following a 7% rise in after-hours trading.
Deutsche Bank has raised its price target to $560 but maintains its “Hold” rating, awaiting a more favourable entry point. It has also embedded a “degree of cyclical conservatism” into estimates as data center customers will need to digest purchases at some point.
PureGym ups its game as membership ahead of expectations
Thursday 24 August 2023 07:38 , Simon Hunt
PureGym today posted a bumper boost in sales as it cheered membership growth which came in ahead of expectations.
Revenue in the first six months of the year grew by 17% to £272m driven by growth in membership and increased
average revenue per member, while the company said membership growth in new UK gyms was of plan as consumers flocked to low-cost gyms amid the cost-of-living crisis.
But the firm continued to make a loss of £25.5 million, which was down from the £45.4 million loss it made in the same period last year.
CEO Humphrey Cobbold, said: “Whilst we had hoped that operating conditions following the pandemic would be easier, the reality is that the business environment has remained very difficult on multiple dimensions.
“[But] Demand for our low cost, flexible gym memberships remains strong and I am particularly pleased with the join up rates at our new sites.”
Nvidia results boost markets, FTSE 100 seen higher
Thursday 24 August 2023 07:22 , Graeme Evans
Asia markets have rallied and Europe is set for a positive session after semiconductor giant Nvidia’s latest forecast-busting results.
The California-based firm’s shares jumped 7% after Wall Street’s closing bell as quarterly revenues of $13.5 billion (£10.6 billion) came in more than doubled the previous year’s $6.7 billion.
It also upgraded its expectations for the current quarter to $16 billion (£12.6 billion) amid a massive shift in spending towards artificial intelligence. Second quarter net income of $6.74 billion (£5.3 billion) was up from $1.28 billion a year ago.
Chief executive Jensen Huang said: "A new computing era has begun. Companies worldwide are transitioning from general-purpose to accelerated computing and generative AI.”
The update more than delivered on Wall Street’s lofty expectations after a 200%-plus jump for Nvidia shares to this week’s record high.
Nasdaq futures are 0.9% higher and the S&P 500 index up 0.5% as US markets look set to build on yesterday’s strong session.
CMC Markets expects the FTSE 100 index to open 24 points higher at 7344, having improved 0.7% yesterday on the back of hopes that UK interest rates are near their peak.
The Hang Seng index is also in recovery mode after putting on more than 2% in today’s session. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 stands 0.8% higher.
Thursday 24 August 2023 07:08 , Daniel O'Boyle
Good morning from the City desk of the Evening Standard. The FTSE 100 is expected to open around half a percentage point higher today after gaining yesterday as weak PMI data suggested a lower peak to interest rates.
Here are some of yesterday’s top stories:
A shock decline in August private sector output has led to renewed recession fears
The majority of Wilko shops are set to close ‘within weeks’, the GMB Union has said, leading to ’significant’ job losses
Swedish buy-now-pay-later fintech Klarna saw a boom in demand in Europe this year as shoppers looked for interest-free lines of credit amid sky-high central bank rates
Wine bar chain Vinoteca was saved from collapse as a private equity firm bought the business, saving 150 jobs