Budget airline easyJet (LON:EZJ) swung to a profit in its annual results after a record second-half financial performance as it delivered a positive outlook for the year ahead and reinstated its dividend. The company, which hasn’t paid a dividend to shareholders in three years, declared a final dividend of 4.5p per share, amounting to £34m and equal to 10% of after-tax headline profit. As previously stated, the airline intends to increase this to 20% of profits in the current financial year. easyJet reported a headline pre-tax profit of £445m in the 12 months to 30 September, up from a loss of £178m the year before and in line with management’s guidance of £440 to £460m.
IT infrastructure technology and services provider Softcat (LON:SCTS) reported a robust first-quarter performance in a trading update on Tuesday, achieving double-digit gross profit growth driven by strong demand. The company said its progress was in line with expectations, and the outlook it set at its full-year results. Its chief executive officer Graham Charlton noted consistent demand for artificial intelligence technology and infrastructure support, highlighting the company’s ability to engage with such opportunities in an evolving industry landscape.
Fast fashion giant Shein has reportedly lodged confidential paperwork with US securities regulators, informing them of an intention to go public in the US. The listing would likely be the largest initial public offering (IPO) in years. – Guardian
Average private rents in Great Britain have soared by more than a quarter since the start of the Covid pandemic and will keep rising, according to an analysis. The typical private rent will end this year 9.5% higher than in December 2022 and then rise a further 6% in 2024 before hitting an “affordability ceiling”, according to the estate and lettings agent Savills (LON:SVS). – Guardian
Germany’s Volkswagen (ETR:VOWG_p) has braced its workers for a wave of job cuts as it battles the same high costs and low productivity that are dogging the country’s economy. The carmaker is understood to be drawing up plans for thousands of job cuts as part of a programme to slash outgoings by €10bn (£9bn) over three years, although no firm target has been set. – Telegraph
Twitter has lost almost three million UK visitors to its website since Elon Musk’s troubled takeover, figures reveal. The social media company, now known as X, racked up a total adult monthly audience of 24 million in May this year, down from 26.8 million at the same time last year, according to media regulator Ofcom. – Telegraph
The market value of The Daily Telegraph’s parent company has more than halved after it unearthed a tax liability of almost £30 million. The value of the holding company has been cut from £47.8 million to £20 million after it failed to properly book tax owed by its publications over a number of years. – The Times
The Bank of England will not cut interest rates for the “foreseeable future”, Andrew Bailey has said, warning it was “too soon” to discuss the prospect of large-scale monetary easing. On a visit to the northeast, the governor said that the battle to reduce inflation from 4.6 per cent at present to the Bank’s 2 per cent target would be “hard work”, insisting that price pressures were not sufficiently low to consider bringing down borrowing costs. – The Times
US stock markets inched lower on Monday, pulling back after the Dow and S&P 500 both closed at their highest levels in three months the previous session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 finished 0.2% lower, while the Nasdaq fell 0.1%.
In a shortened post-Thanksgiving trading session on Friday, the Dow and S&P 500 closed at their highest levels since 7 August and 1 August, respectively.
“After weeks of gains, it is not surprising to see stocks catch their breath in afternoon trading,” said Chris Beauchamp, analyst at IG.
“Things are quiet out there, perhaps a little too quiet, and more than a few investors will be casting a nervous eye on the Vix, which has reached its lowest level since January 2020.”
Weighing on sentiment was government data in China which revealed that industrial profit growth slowed to just 2.7% in October, down from 11.9% in September and 17.2% in August.