8th May 2024. 9.00am

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AstraZeneca sales boosted by cancer drugs

AstraZeneca’s (AZN) share price jumped higher following the release of a market-beating set of results…

In the first quarter of 2024, AstraZeneca performed exceptionally well, surpassing analysts’ expectations with a 19% growth in revenue.

This impressive growth was primarily driven by increased sales of its cancer drugs. The pharma giant reported a revenue of $12.7 billion, significantly outperforming consensus estimates, which had projected $11.9 billion.

AstraZeneca also reiterated its guidance for the current year, expecting double-digit growth in both sales and earnings.

These positive results follow recent developments within the company, including a substantial pay rise for CEO Pascal Soriot and a notable increase in dividends. The dividend per share saw a significant rise of $0.20, marking the most significant increase in dividends for AstraZeneca in over a decade.

AZN Daily Candle Chart

AZN Daily Candle Chart

BP’s first quarter sees 40% profit decline amid refinery challenges

In the first quarter, BP’s profits took a 40% hit, dropping to $2.7 billion, falling short of the expected $2.87 billion. This decline was attributed to lower energy prices, a US refinery outage, and decreased fuel margins.

Despite this, the company maintained its dividend and share buyback program. BP introduced a target of $2 billion in cash cost savings by 2026. Although oil and gas production increased, the impact of the refinery outage and lower prices led to the earnings miss.

The company’s cash flow decreased by 34%, and its net debt rose to $24 billion. This performance contrasted with Shell’s recent strong results.

CEO Murray Auchincloss aims to streamline operations and reduce costs amid investor skepticism about shifting focus from oil and gas to low-carbon ventures. “We’re seeing good operational momentum,” Auchincloss told Reuters.

BP’s share price has pulled back in recent weeks, but prices remain in an uptrend since the turn of the year.

BP. Daily Candle Chart

BP. Daily Candle Chart

Glencore’s Q1 production slightly below expectations

Glencore (GLEN) provided its first-quarter production update up to March 31st, revealing a slight decline in coal production by 1% year-over-year to 26.6 million tonnes (mt), and a 2% decrease in copper production to 239.7 kilo tonnes.

The mining giant maintained its full-year production estimates. However, it adjusted its profit expectations for its marketing business to be between $3 billion and $3.5 billion, which is at the upper end of its long-term average range of $2.2 billion to $3.2 billion.

Copper production, which accounts for around 40% of adjusted profits, declined by 2% compared to the same quarter last year, largely due to operational factors but remained in line with city forecasts.

Zinc output remained flat at 205.6 kt, missing estimates for a 10% gain due to flash floods in Australia. Cobalt production decreased by just over a third to 6.6 kt due to planned lower output in response to reduced market prices.

Despite the marginally disappointing production numbers, Glencore raised its full-year profit expectations for its marketing division due to the anticipation of prolonged higher interest rates.

Glencore maintained its full-year production guidance across its commodities, with modest volume increases expected in the second half for cobalt, nickel, and zinc.

GLEN Daily Candle Chart

GLEN Daily Candle Chart

Halma bolsters electrical safety portfolio with acquisition of MK Test Systems

Halma (HLMA), recently announced the acquisition of MK Test Systems Limited (MK Test), a company specialising in safety-critical electrical testing technology.

Founded in 1990 and based in Wellington, Somerset, UK, MK Test’s products are utilised worldwide to test the integrity of high voltage electrical systems in industries such as aerospace, rail, and commercial electric vehicles.

The cash consideration for the acquisition amounts to £44 million, to be funded from Halma’s existing facilities. MK Test’s unaudited revenue for the 12 months ending March 2024 was £12.4 million, with a Return on Sales substantially above Halma’s target range of 18-22%. MK Test will operate as a standalone company within Halma’s Safety sector, under the leadership of its current management team.

Marc Ronchetti, Group Chief Executive of Halma, expressed enthusiasm about the acquisition, stating that MK Test enhances Halma’s capabilities in electrical safety and presents new growth opportunities. He highlighted the importance of MK Test’s technology in automated electrical testing and ensuring the integrity of electrical systems.

HLMA Daily Candle Chart

HLMA Daily Candle Chart

Indivior delivers strong Q1 growth

Indivior (INDV) reported double-digit net revenue growth in Q1 2024, with total net revenue reaching $284 million, a 12% increase compared to Q1 2023. Sublocade net revenue surged by 36% to $179 million during the same period.

The company reaffirmed its guidance for FY 2024, anticipating accelerated net revenue and adjusted operating profit throughout the year. Additionally, Indivior plans to pursue shareholder approval this month for a primary listing in the US.

CEO Mark Crossley attributed the Q1 results to sustained momentum, particularly driven by Sublocade. Despite some challenges like Medicaid patient disenrollments and a cyberattack, Crossley expressed confidence in resolving these issues as the year progresses, anticipating growth in both top and bottom lines.

Financially, Q1 2024 saw an increase in total net revenue, operating profit, and net income. However, adjusted net income experienced a 9% decrease compared to Q1 2023, primarily due to increased operating expenses. Diluted earnings per share stood at $0.34 on a reported basis and $0.37 on an adjusted basis for Q1 2024.

Cash used in operations in Q1 2024 amounted to $25 million, primarily due to litigation settlement payments. Cash inflow from investing activities reached $25 million, while cash outflow from financing activities amounted to $38 million, reflecting shares repurchased and canceled, among other factors.

INDV Daily Candle Chart

INDV Daily Candle Chart

Prudential reports Q1 growth challenges

Prudential’s (PRU) Q1 profit growth of 11% fell behind its competitor AIA, primarily due to challenging comparable periods in Hong Kong and China, affecting results.

Despite this, Prudential’s streamlined business concluded the year strongly, with first-quarter annual premium equivalent (APE) sales rising by 7% to $1.6 billion, excluding currency impacts. Growth in Singapore and Malaysia was partially offset by tough comparisons in Hong Kong and weak sales in China and Indonesia.

New Business Profits (NBP) increased by 11%, reaching $810 million when disregarding economic impacts, with margins improving to 50%. However, factoring in these impacts, NBP remained flat, and margins decreased from 48% to 45%.

Eastspring, Prudential’s asset management arm, reported net inflows of $0.1 billion, with assets under management rising to $239 billion from $237 billion at the start of the period. Strong retail sales and flows from the insurance business were somewhat offset by institutional outflows.

CEO Anil Wadhwani announced plans to update shareholders on capital management during the half-year results.

PRU Daily Candle Chart

PRU Daily Candle Chart

Smith & Nephew expects strong performance for 2024

Smith & Nephew (SN.) delivered a confident first-quarter update, reaffirming strong revenue growth expectations for the rest of the year.

Sales rose by 2.9% on an underlying basis to $1.39 billion, driven by solid performances in orthopaedics (4.4%) and sports medicine (5.5%), though wound management experienced a decline.

For the full year 2024, Smith & Nephew anticipates underlying growth between 5-6% and 4.3%-5.3% underlying with a trading margin of “at least 18%.”

Smith & Nephew CEO, Deepak Nath expressed confidence in the outlook, citing progress in the Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine & ENT businesses. He highlighted the strong growth in most segments and expressed optimism for improvement throughout the year, affirming the company’s commitment to delivering another year of robust revenue growth.

SN. Daily Candle Chart

SN. Daily Candle Chart

Trainline doubles operating profits and sees surge in European penetration

Trainline (TRN) announced significant financial growth, doubling its operating profits as it reported a 22% year-on-year increase in net ticket sales, reaching £5.3 billion in the financial year 2024. Total revenue also surged by 21% to £397 million, while adjusted earnings rose sharply by 42% to £122 million.

Operating profit doubled to £56 million, reflecting the company’s robust performance and operational efficiency.

In addition to the strong financial results, Trainline unveiled a new £75 million share buyback program to commence after the completion of the current £50 million program.

Trainline highlighted its position as the most downloaded rail app in Europe, with particularly strong ticket sales in Spain and Italy. Combined sales growth across these countries reached an impressive 43%, contributing to international consumer ticket sales surpassing £1 billion.

CEO Jody Ford emphasised the impact of new entrant carrier competition in revolutionising rail travel across Europe, offering customers greater choice, lower prices, and more sustainable travel options. Ford expressed confidence in Trainline’s role as the preferred aggregator in the UK and internationally, with strong growth prospects, especially in rapidly liberalising markets like Spain.

TRN Daily Candle Chart

TRN Daily Candle Chart


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