Asos profits triple as pandemic boosts sales
Asos has more than tripled first half profits to a record £ 113 million and raised expectations for the full year as the online retailer continues to prove a big winner during the pandemic.
The company also said that brands Topshop, Miss Selfridge and sportswear brand HIIT, acquired from Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia empire for £ 330 million in February, have been integrated “seamlessly” into their online platform and have seen “a huge initial boost from customers.”
Asos reported a 253% year-on-year increase in pre-tax earnings to £ 106.4 million in the six months to February 28, as the group’s total revenue increased 24% to £ 2 billion.
Australian government monitors GFG steel developments
The Australian government has indicated that it might consider providing financing to mining operations owned by GFG, the metals conglomerate owned by Sanjeev Gupta, which faces further legal action seeking to liquidate it.
Gupta’s metals empire has come under intense pressure after the collapse of its main lender, Greensill Capital. Gupta has been struggling to find new lenders to replace up to $ 5bn (£ 3.6bn) loaned by Greensill.
Credit Suisse, the bank that financed Greensill’s loans (and which faces its own pressure), submitted a request this week to liquidate two of GFG’s Australian businesses. Credit Suisse has already made a similar move in London.
Citibank, acting on behalf of Credit Suisse, applied to the New South Wales courts for the liquidation of Onesteel Manufacturing, which operates the Whyalla steel operation in South Australia, and Tahmoor Coal.
Simon Birmingham, Australia’s finance minister, said the government was monitoring developments, and that an initial hearing was not scheduled until May 6. Reuters reported that he told ABC radio on Thursday:
Governments are monitoring this situation very closely and are, in fact, doing the kind of contingency thinking and planning that would be prudent in these kinds of circumstances.
He said financing options provided the last time the steelmaker went over to management were being considered.
Our government continues just to make sure that we are looking at those examples from the past and being aware of how we might respond if necessary.
Introduction: Markets Win After Federal Reserve Targets Longer Support
Good morning and welcome to our continuous and live coverage of the commercial, economic and financial markets.
The only constant throughout the coronavirus crisis has been the willingness of the Federal Reserve and other central banks to back the markets. They were at it again last night in Washington, with the minutes of the last monetary policy meeting giving the reassuring message that support is here to stay.
Equity markets in Europe rose in early trading on Thursday after the Fed said it expected to maintain loose monetary policy for “some time” until conditions improve sufficiently. The FTSE was up 0.3% in opening trading on Thursday morning, while the Stoxx 600 index of large European companies gained 0.4%.
Lael Brainard, governor of the Fed, told CNBC that policy makers expect “considerably better results in growth, employment and inflation” in the coming months. “But that’s one perspective,” he said. “We will have to see that in the data,” and with millions of jobs still lost due to the pandemic, “we have a long way to go.”
Naeem aslam, analyst at Avatrade, an online investment platform, said:
Traders have finally understood that there will be no early exit from loose monetary policy. The US economy needs to make a full recovery and it will be some time before that happens.
Markets seem to ignore the latest concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine. UK regulators recommended against giving that particular vaccine to those under 30 years old due to the risk, albeit extremely rare, of blood clots.
This morning at UK online clothing retailer Asos has generated a 253% increase in profits thanks in part to a net profit from Covid.
Miner Anglo-American it has said it will separate its thermal coal operations in South Africa.
- 8:30 am BST: Eurozone Construction Purchasing Managers Survey (PMI) (March; previous: 45)
- 9:30 am BST: UK Construction Purchasing Directors Survey (PMI) (March; old: 45)
- 12:30 pm BST: Account of the monetary policy meeting of the European Central Bank
- 1:30 pm BST: Initial U.S. Unemployment Claims (Week of April 3; Old: 719,000; Consensus: 680,000)