Euro strengthens as ‘pro-business’ Macron wins French presidency

FTSE-100

FTSE-100 1 Year Chart

Today’s edition features:

  • ValiRx (VAL.L)
  • easyJet (EZJ.L)
  • InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG.L)

Visit Company News »


"Macron wins the French Presidency! – No surprise there then. Anticipating as much, European equities were the star of last week’s show. The STOXX 600 rose 0.7% on Friday, notching up a weekly gain of 1.9%, with the CAC40 itself leading the way as French poll fears eased and Frankfurt’s Xetra Dax closed at a fresh all-time high. Confidence was underlined by strong new flows into European bond funds, which jumped to a 16-week high, as European equities extended their longest inflow streak since the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the latest weekly report from EPFR Global for the week ended May 3. Over US$9 billion come out of US equities over the same period, which perhaps highlights investor concerns regarding divergence of central bank policies either side of the pond, with the ECB apparently keeping low rates and quantitative easing unchanged, while the Federal Reserve maintains its stance of raising several times this year. These was somewhat less enthusiasm for London over the same five-day period, despite strong conviction that Theresa May will significantly enlarge her majority on 8th June. Fighting talk from the Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, ahead of formal Brexit talks getting underway was one of the reasons for this, while the savage sell-off of heavily-weighted minerals stocks, with Brent falling below US$50/bbl on surging North American output, Copper falling to a 5-month low and Chinese Iron-ore futures slipping 14% over the past three trading days, rather took the shine off the FTSE-100. Wall Street closed its lacklustre week with fractional movements once again; investors were unimpressed by a bigger than expected 211,000 new Nonfarm payrolls recorded for April, taking unemployment down to 4.4%, its lowest since 2007’s start of the financial crisis; nor were they excited by increasing expectation that US rates will indeed be hiked again in June (now an 83% probability according to Fed Futures) and then, most probably, again in September, which was amply demonstrated through the Euro being able to hold on to its six-month high against the Greenback. Stocks in Asia rose broadly this morning as they kicked off global market trading for the week, boosted by the news from France and significantly also from Angela Merkel’s conservative party on Sunday surprisingly securing a big victory in Germany’s northernmost state, according to initial results, dashing hopes from the rival centre-left Social Democrats ahead of the national vote in September. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average rose almost 2.4% during late trade, reaching its highest level since mid-December, although the index was playing catch-up with other regional bourses having been shut since Wednesday for public holidays. Elsewhere, Korea’s Kospi added 0.5%, hitting an all-time high, while the ASX in Australia gained 0.5%, leaving only the Shanghai Composite to remain in the doldrums. The UK today is expecting release of its Halifax House Prices followed late this evening by the BRC’s LfL Retail Sales number for April, while macro data from the EU includes May’s Sentix Investor Confidence index. The US will release its Labor Market Conditions Index for April, while also scheduling a speech by the Fed’s James Bullard. UK corporates due to release earnings or trading updates include Numis (NUM.L), Centrica (CNA.L) and Eckoh (ECK.L). With Europe now seemingly dominating the headlines, market watchers are again starting to question whether early signs of inflation picking up in Germany just might, after all, result in the ECB relaxing some of its easy-money policies earlier than current predictions suggest – a bullish development for the Euro given the apparent lowering of populist politics. London will open this morning quite content with this picture for the immediate future; the FTSE-100 is seen up 15 to 20 points in early trade."
– Barry Gibb, Research Analyst


Markets

Europe
The FTSE-100 finished Friday’s session 0.68% higher at 7,297.43 whilst the FTSE AIM All-Share index was little changed at 965.34. In continental Europe, the CAC-40 finished up 1.12% at 5,432.40 whilst the DAX was 0.55% higher at 12,716.89.

Wall Street
In New York on Friday, the Dow Jones rose 0.26% to 21,006.94, the S&P-500 firmed 0.41% to 2,399.29 and the Nasdaq gained 0.42% to finish the week at 6,100.76.

Asia
In Asian markets this morning, the Nikkei 225 had risen 2.3% to 19,893.05, while the Hang Seng gained 0.35% to 24,562.06.

Oil
In early trade today, WTI crude was up 1.3% to $46.82/bbl and Brent was up 1.41% to $49.79/bbl.


Headlines

Euro strengthens as ‘pro-business’ Macron wins French presidency
The euro has risen after pro-EU Emmanuel Macron won France’s presidential vote by a large margin. The single currency strengthened 0.2% against the dollar as investors were reassured over the future stability of the European project. The reaction was muted, however, as investors were expecting Mr Macron, a former investment banker and an economic liberal, to prevail. He has proposed cutting corporation tax and changes to the labour market. “Voters elected for Emmanuel Macron’s pro-business policy proposals, which have the potential to unlock long-held-back investment and stimulate French markets,” said Stephen Mitchell at London-based fund manager, Jupiter Asset Management. His opponent in the race for the presidency, Marine Le Pen, is a critic of globalisation and had proposed withdrawing France from the single currency.

Source: BBC News



Company news

ValiRx (VAL.L, 2.15p) – Speculative Buy
The life science company with a focus on cancer therapeutics and diagnostics for personalised medicine, on Friday announced its final results for the year ended 31 December 2016. A loss on ordinary activities before taxation of £5.75m (2015: £2.24m), equating to a loss per share of 8.54p (2015: loss 5.63p) was much as expected from this cash-consuming business. This rise reflects the substantial increase in clinical activity undertaken during the period and the corresponding 54% increase in Research and Development costs to £2.38m in comparison to the prior period (2015: £1.54m). The rise in R&D costs relates to an escalation in patient recruitment; the ratcheting increase in cost of dosage increments over the period for the Phase l/ll clinical trial of VAL201 and the costs incurred surrounding the launch of VAL401 into its Phase llb clinical trial in Georgia. Administration costs were impacted to a lesser extent, rising 32% to £1.79m (2015: £1.38m). At the beginning of March 2017, the Group raised £1.16m through a placement of shares to fund the further development of its drugs towards key clinical milestones, which the Directors believe will provide significant value inflection points for ValiRx and its shareholders. Operationally, VAL201 has the last phase of its Phase l/ll study to complete in which patients will receive the highest dose level prescribed in the trial protocol. The Phase ll Clinical Trial of VAL401 is expected to complete dosing by the end of 2017 and subsequent analysis of the data will define the clinical activity of VAL401 and its effect on patient quality of life. Expansion of VAL201 & 401 trials into multi-centre studies will accelerate the accumulation of data and potential trial endpoints while positive enhancements of ValiRx IP portfolio with multiple new worldwide patents being secured during the period for both. New pre-clinical indication for Endometriosis, VAL301, currently in development through the reformulation of VAL201, with necessary regulatory approvals now being sought to enter VAL301 into a clinical trial in 2018.

Our view: Momentum continues to build. The Group’s clinical trials have performed well and in line with expectations. These will now continue to build out value by generating further safety and efficacy data to reinforce the therapeutic value of the molecules along with further development of the next generation from its pre-clinical pipeline. Based on the positive results of the VAL201 and VAL401 compounds, the ValiRx management continue their discussions, regarding late stage clinical studies with a view to securing potential partnerships and collaborations with pharmaceutical partners. This positive news once again underlines the fact that ValiRx investors are getting an awful lot for their money! The Group operates a low-risk, high return model that is shareholder friendly in the respect that it seeks to crystallising value, before reaching the costlier phases of the development. It routinely provides shareholders with tangible progress between modest funding rounds, the latest fundraising now financing its two lead candidates with respect to additional patient/centre recruitment, trial dosing and product manufacturing out to September. Comparisons with peer groups with similar clinical portfolios, or early stage partnership deals with big pharma seeking entrance into such therapeutic areas, suggests a significant valuation gap has opened. ValiRx shares presently recognise none of the value created over the past 18 months, nor the depth of its therapeutic pipeline. While it is understandable that the market remains concerned regarding the Group’s prospective funding needs, it should also recognise that a potentially near-term Big Pharma development collaboration for either VAL201 or VAL401 would likely be at a multiple of the Group’s current capitalisation. Beaufort reiterates its Speculative Buy rating on the Shares with a price target of 6.5p.

Beaufort Securities acts as corporate broker to ValiRx plc

REQUEST A CALL FROM A BROKER REGARDING THIS RECOMMENDATION

easyJet (EZJ.L, 1,260.00p) – Buy
easyJet, a low-cost European short-haul airline company, on Friday provided a traffic update for April 2017. During the month, passenger traffic increased by +11.7% year-on-year to 7.1 million customers, while the load factor improved +2.5% year-on-year to 92.4%. The rolling 12 months traffic to February rose +7.8% to 76.7 million customers. Passenger traffic represents the number of earned seats flown, while load factor represents the number of passengers as a proportion of the number of seats available for passengers.

Our view: easyJet reported strong passenger traffic and load factor data for April, boosted further by the timing of Easter this year. The result follows March’s strong +10.6% growth in passenger traffic and +1.4% improvement in load factor. Looking ahead, subject to normal levels of disruption, the Group confirmed at the time of its Q1 results, that it planned to grow seat capacity by up to +9% in FY2017, while continuing to target a -3% decline in total cost per seat at constant currency including fuel for the full year, and a +1% increase in cost per seat excluding fuel at constant foreign exchange rate. The Group said it remains committed to flat cost per seat excluding fuel at constant currency in the FY2019 against FY2015 (FY2015: £37.44). Revenue per seat for H1 is expected to decline by “high single digits” due to the timing of Easter and the Berlin terrorist attack. Adjusting for this, underlying revenue per seat decline is expected to improve in the Q2 compared to the Q1, supported by strong demand across all European markets. The recent tumbling in oil prices amid concerns of global oversupply as the US oil production speeding up, as well as uncertainty over degree of OPEC’s further supply cut extension. We shall wait for release of its H1 FY2017 results on 16 May 2017 for its progress and further outlook. The Shares are valued at FY2017E P/E multiple of 16.3x together with a dividend yield of 3.0%. Beaufort reiterate its Buy rating on the Shares.

REQUEST A CALL FROM A BROKER REGARDING THIS RECOMMENDATION

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG.L, 4,120.00p) – Buy
InterContinental Hotels Group (‘IHG’), a global organisation with a broad portfolio of hotel brands, on Friday provided its first quarter trading update (‘Q1 FY2017′). During the period, RevPAR (revenue per available room) advanced by +2.7%, supported by positive growth in all regions, including; +2.2% in Americas, +6.9% in Europe, +0.1% in Asia, Middle East & Africa and +3.8% in Greater China. The rate (price) increased by +0.8%, while occupancy also improved by 1.2%. The Group confirmed that its financial position remains strong, with an on-going commitment to an efficient balance sheet and an investment grade credit rating. On the operational front, the Group opened 49 hotels (total: 5,175 hotels) during the period, increased its system (rooms) by +3.4% to 766,837 rooms, while expanded its pipeline of room by signed further 14,424 rooms to totalling 232,215 rooms. On a separate announcement, IHG’ CEO, Richard Solomons announced that he will be retiring from THE Group on 30 August 2017 (step down from CEO on 30 June), which will be succeeded by its Chief Commercial Officer, Keith Barr. Richard Solomons commented “Despite the uncertain economic and political environment in some markets, we remain confident in the outlook for 2017 and our ability to deliver sustainable growth into the future”. As announced previously, the Group will return US$400m to shareholders through a special dividend with share consolidation on 22 May 2017.

Our view: IHG has started a year on a positive note. It increased its RevPAR by +2.7%, supported by both higher rates and occupancy. Geographically, all region reported positive RevPAR, particularly strong in the Americas and Europe, both boosted by the timing of Easter. For the former, stabilisation in oil producing markets, where the it grew for the first time since Q4 2014 generated positive performances. Mexico was particularly strong with RevPAR rising +10%. In the latter, UK, Germany, Russia and France produced strong growth, particularly in London which saw strong RevPAR of +12%, due to increased tourism, possibly helped by weaker Sterling. In Asia, Middle East & Africa, the Middle East continued to drag regional performance with -7% decline in RevPAR resulting from lower oil prices, high supply growth and government austerity measures. India on the other hand saw strong RevPAR growth of +13% driven by increased tourism. In Greater China, the performance was led by strong corporate and meetings demand on the mainland. Looking ahead, the Group has signed further 14,424 rooms in Q1, a highest rate since 2008, to 232,215 pipeline rooms, which is up +5% year-on-year, with c.45% is under construction and c.90% located in IHG’s 10 priority market. After opening its first hotel in Taiwan and 300th hotel in China during the period, the Group expects to open additional units in key cities including Los Angeles and Singapore during 2017. Friday’s negative reaction on its share price was possibly due to the Board’s comment regarding a weaker Q2 performance (due to Easter falling into April this year), as well as ongoing higher levels of forecast supply growth in oil producing markets. Having said this, on the other hand, the Group has confirmed its “robust” financial position and confidence in its FY2017 outlook. The special dividend of US$400m was also a reflection of its confidence over long-term growth, enabled by the Group’s strong generation of free cashflow. The shares are valued at a FY2017E P/E multiple of 22.7x with dividend yield of 2.0% before specials. In light of the positive progress, Beaufort retains its Buy rating on the Shares.

REQUEST A CALL FROM A BROKER REGARDING THIS RECOMMENDATION

To read Beaufort’s full research archive click here

Compiled by:
Barry Gibb, Kazunaga Senga, Sheldon Modeland, Charles Long & Ben Maitland
(t) +44 (0) 207 382 8384
(e) [email protected]


Weekly diary


Click here to see all this week’s planned corporate and economic announcements.


Recommendations
During the three months to end-April 2017, the number of stocks on which Beaufort Securities published recommendations was 216, and the recommendations were as follows: Buy – 73; Speculative Buy – 118; Hold – 22; Sell – 3.

Full definitions of the recommendations used by Beaufort Securities in its publications and their respective meanings can be found on our website here.

Important Risk Warnings and Disclaimers
This report is published by (“Beaufort Securities”). is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is a Member of the London Stock Exchange.

RELIANCE ON THIS NOTE FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENGAGING IN ANY INVESTMENT ACTIVITY MAY EXPOSE YOU TO A SIGNIFICANT RISK OF LOSING ALL OF THE FUNDS, PROPERTY OR OTHER ASSETS INVESTED OR OF INCURRING ADDITIONAL LIABILITY.

This document is not an offer to buy or sell any security or currency. This document does not provide you with individually tailored investment advice. It has been prepared without regard to the your financial circumstances and objectives The appropriateness of a particular investment or currency will depend on your individual circumstances and objectives. The investments and shares referred to in this document may not be suitable for you.

This research is non-independent and is classified as a Marketing Communication under FCA rules. As such it has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote independence of investment research and it is not subject to the prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research in COBS 12.2.5. However Beaufort Securities has adopted internal procedures which prohibit analysts from dealing ahead of non-independent research, except for legitimate market making and fulfilling clients’ unsolicited orders.

By receiving this document, you will not be deemed a client or provided with the protections afforded to clients of Beaufort Securities. When distributing this document, Beaufort Securities is not acting for you and will not be responsible for providing advice to you in relation to this document. Accordingly, Beaufort Securities will not be responsible to you for providing the protections afforded to its clients.

Beaufort Securities may effect transactions in shares mentioned herein and may take proprietary trading positions in those shares, and may receive remuneration for the publication of its research and for other services. Beaufort Securities may be a shareholder in any of the companies mentioned in this report. Accordingly, this document may not be considered as objective or impartial. Additionally, information may be available to Beaufort Securities or the Group, which is not reflected in this material. The remuneration of the author of this report is not tied to the recommendations on any shares mentioned nor to the any transactions undertaken by Beaufort Securities or any affiliate company. Further information on Beaufort Securities’ policy regarding potential conflicts of interest in the context of investment research and Beaufort Securities’ policy on disclosure and conflicts in general are available on request. Please refer to http://www.beaufortsecurities.com/important-info.

Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Investments may go down in value as well as up and you may not get back the full amount invested. The listing requirements for securities listed on AIM or NEX are less demanding and trading in them may be less liquid than main markets. This may make it more difficult to buy and sell these securities.

This document includes certain statements, estimates, and projections with respect to the anticipated future performance of securities listed on stock exchanges and as to the market for these shares. Such statements, estimates, and projections are based on information that we consider reliable and may reflect various assumptions made concerning anticipated economic developments, which have not been independently verified and may or may not prove correct. No representation or warranty is made as to the accuracy of such statements, estimates, and projections or as to its fitness for the purpose intended and it should not be relied upon as such. Opinions expressed are our current opinions as of the date appearing on this material only and may change without notice. Other third parties may have issued other reports that are inconsistent with, and reach different conclusions from, the information presented in this report. Those reports reflect the different assumptions, views, and analytical methods of the analysts who prepared them. This report has not been disclosed to any of the companies mentioned herein prior to its publication.

This document is based on information Beaufort Securities has received from publicly available reports and industry sources. Beaufort Securities may not have verified all of this information with third parties. Neither Beaufort Securities nor its advisors, directors or employees can guarantee the accuracy, reasonableness or completeness of the information received from any sources consulted for this publication, and neither Beaufort Securities nor its advisors, directors or employees accepts any liability whatsoever (in negligence or otherwise) for any loss howsoever arising from any use of this document or its contents or otherwise arising in connection with this document (except in respect of wilful default and to the extent that any such liability cannot be excluded by the applicable law). You should not rely on this document and should not use it substitution for the exercise of the independent judgment of yourself or your adviser.

The information contained in this document is confidential and is solely for use of those persons to whom it is addressed and may not be reproduced, further distributed to any other person or published, in whole or in part, for any purpose. Other persons who receive this document should not rely on it. Beaufort Securities, its directors, officers and employees may have positions in the securities mentioned herein.


Beaufort Securities Limited, 63 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8AA.

Members of the London Stock Exchange, NEX and QCA.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.