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FTSE 100 movers: Ocado rallies on trading statement; Auto Trader falls

15:50, 26th March 2024

London's FTSE 100 was flat at 7,921.21 in afternoon trade on Tuesday.
Ocado jumped to the top of the index as it said that in the first quarter of 2024, its Ocado Retail operation saw an 8.1% increase in total item volumes, leading to a 10.6% rise in revenue to £645.3m.

The company said the division - a joint venture with Marks and Spencer - saw its online market share climb to 13.5%, driven by a 6.4% rise in active customers, reaching 1.02 million.

Smiths Group was also in the black as it reaffirmed annual guidance after a rise in half-year earnings and order growth.

Auto Trader was under the cosh as JPMorgan Cazenove placed the shares on 'negative catalyst watch' ahead of FY24 results in May. JPM kept the shares at 'underweight' with a 608p price target.

It noted that a key premise to its downgrade to UW last year was easing momentum in the core business, a lack of financial bearing from Digital Retailing initiatives, and an unattractive valuation.

"We now see an increasingly challenging market backdrop coming to the fore - following six months of falling used car prices (accelerating to -8% in February 2024) and meaningful margin erosion for UK retailers - which we expect to temper consensus expectations on the core marketplace business," it said.

"Coupled with continued disappointments on the digital agenda - Autorama - we see building risk to consensus FY25 earnings expectations which we expect to weigh on the shares into FY24 results (May 30th) and place the shares on negative catalyst watch into the earnings season."

Flutter Entertainment lost ground as the Paddy Power owner posted a widening of its full-year losses due to one-off costs, but said revenue surged and guided to 30% growth in 2024 core profit thanks to a strong performance in the US.

FTSE 100 - Risers

Ocado Group (OCDO) 477.80p 5.57%
Kingfisher (KGF) 249.20p 4.01%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,709.50p 3.36%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 694.60p 2.84%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 260.40p 2.48%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 165.00p 1.54%
easyJet (EZJ) 547.20p 1.52%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 111.70p 1.45%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 4,356.00p 1.40%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 8,286.00p 1.32%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 710.40p -4.28%
Beazley (BEZ) 667.50p -2.13%
Flutter Entertainment (DI) (FLTR) 16,945.00p -1.97%
Fresnillo (FRES) 443.50p -1.88%
Experian (EXPN) 3,445.00p -1.63%
Prudential (PRU) 763.20p -1.45%
Croda International (CRDA) 4,874.00p -1.34%
M&G (MNG) 235.60p -1.26%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,863.00p -1.06%
St James's Place (STJ) 465.50p -0.96%

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The information, investment views and recommendations in this article are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engaging in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. Vox Markets may receive payment from companies mentioned for enhanced profiling or publication presence. The writer may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.

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