Morning Market Pulse - Ashtead as well equipped for 2020?

Ashtead rental equipment in London
Ashtead rental equipment in London

Mike van Dulken at Accendo Markets, commented to clients this morning:


Markets Overview:


FTSE 100 called to open +10pts at 7365, having broken above falling highs resistance, but back from overnight highs of 7377 which could result in a new sideways 7324-7377 channel. Bulls need a break above 7377. Bears require a breach of 7360. Watch levels: Bullish 7380, Bearish 7355


Calls for a tepid start for the FTSE follow another mixed session in Asia as investors await the Fed update tomorrow amid a quietening of both trade tensions and geopolitical risk. This is despite a positive start to the week on Wall St where Energy and Tech names outperformed, although oil under pressure again overnight and FTSE Miners flat to down in Australia.

Gold ($1345) on the rebound, Copper holding yesterday’s bounce while Brent Crude Oil remains under pressure at $61.3. Weak GBP (a combination of the Tory leadership race, a weaker Euro and USD strength) helping FTSE.


In corporate news this morning;


Ashtead Q4 underlying rental revenues +19%, EBITDA +17%, pre-tax +11%; debt to EBITDA 1.8x vs 1.6x (within 1.5-2.0x range); FY Op cash flow +21%; FY Capex +33%; Final dividend +21.8%; Strong end markets in North America, organic growth supplemented by bolt-on acquisitions. Expect another £500m buybacks in 2019/20. Expect similar FY capex in 2019/20.


Safestore H1 like-for-like revenues +5.6% (UK +5.6%, Paris +6.3%), underlying EBITDA +6.5%, closing occupancy +2.9%, Occupancy rate +220bp, average occupancy +3.9%, storage rate +1.7%, free cash flow +19.5%, NAV +13.7%, dividend +7.8%. On course to meet FY expectations.


Telecom Plus FY revenues +1.5%, adj. Pre-tax profit +3.7%, final dividend +3.8%; in strong position to take advantage of challenging retail market; record numbers switching energy suppliers, churn rate fallen; expect adjusted pre-tax profits £60-65m in FY2020 (+7-16%), with dividend +10%.


AstraZeneca says Lynparza approved in EU for 1st-line maintenance treatment of BRC-mutated advanced ovarian cancer.

Meggitt awarded multi-million dollar contract by Textron for supply of fire protection systems.


In focus today:

ECB President Draghi speaks (9am and 3pm) at the ECB Forum on Central Banking 2019 "20 Years of European Economic and Monetary Union", where markets will look for policy hints (nothing during last night’s opening remarks), especially stimulus. De Guidos speaks at 9.30am and colleague Lane at 11.30am.


We get another Conservative Leadership debate, this time including Boris Johnson, all part of the process to decide which two contenders will battle it out for the top spot/poisoned chalice.


Data includes Eurozone Inflation (10am) which is expected to confirm a marked 50bp slowing in price growth in May, which keep the pressure on Draghi and Co. German ZEW surveys (10am) are forecast weaker in June while US Housing (1.30pm) numbers may be little changed in May.

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