Weekly Outlook: EasyJet and three recruitment agencies to report

Key events for UK wealth managers starting the week 9 October

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash


Monday 9 October

  • First day (of six) of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington, DC

Tuesday 10 October

  • Full-year results from YouGov
  • First-half results from 1Spatial
  • UK BRC retail sales monitor
  • US NFIB smaller companies survey
  • In Europe, quarterly results from Borussia Dortmund
  • In the US, quarterly results from PepsiCo
  • Robert Walters trading update

Recruitment agencies Robert Walters, Pagegroup and Hays will release trading updates on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday respectively this week, which could provide insight into the broader economic state moving forward.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, and Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis, said: “Unemployment remains low in the UK, USA and (by recent standards) Western Europe, and this is one of the planks upon which the case for ongoing economic strength (or, at worst, a soft landing) is built.

“However, all three of the FTSE All-Share recruitment agencies – Robert Walters, Pagegroup and Hays – have noted a marked slowdown in activity this year.”

In August, each of the firms were able to stay on par with forecasts but noted a shift towards temporary hires rather than permanent; shakiness in the US, UK, and China; and a loss of staff within their own companies, which Mould and Hewson suggest could mean “recruiters are preparing for tougher times ahead.”

“Skill shortages, strength in technology and engineering and outperformance from Europe were more encouraging common themes, while all three firms felt confident enough to run share buybacks, or issue a special dividend, thanks to their net cash balance sheets,” Mould and Hewson said.

At Hays, Thursday will mark the first shareholder update with chief executive Dirk Hahn. Each of the three agencies have experienced a downturn in pre-tax profit, with Hays dipping 15%, Pagegroup falling 30%, and Walters falling 48%.

Wednesday 11 October

  • First-half results from Sanderson Design
  • Trading statements from QinetiQ and Marston’s
  • Pagegroup trading update

Thursday 12 October

  • Full-year results from Dechra Pharmaceuticals
  • First-half results from N Brown
  • Trading statements from Sabre Insurance, Norcros and Treatt
  • Analysts’ meetings at Severn Trent and Mitie
  • UK construction, manufacturing and industrial output
  • Germany wholesale price inflation
  • US oil inventories
  • US weekly initial unemployment claims
  • In Japan, quarterly results from Fast Retailing
  • In Europe, quarterly results from Christian Hansen and Suedzucker
  • In the US, quarterly results from Delta Airlines, Walgreen Boots Alliance, Domino’s Pizza and Alcoa
  • Hays trading update
  • EasyJet full-year trading update

EasyJet will share its full-year trading update on Thursday, providing insight into how the airline has dealt with rising fuel prices and possibly how they plan to expand in the coming year after significant share growth in 2023.

Even with a dip in their market this summer, EasyJet has increased shares by almost 50% in the last year. The company weathered a tumultuous 2020 and 2021 but holds a pre-tax profit of £450m this year. As of June, the company had boosted revenue per seat by 23% and repaid $950m (£777.6m) in debt.

Mould and Hewson said they will also be looking for a forecast of how EasyJet plans to grow in the next year. EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren provided some vision for Q1 2024, stating his intentions to increase both capacity and load factor year-on-year and decrease the cost per seat (not factoring in cost of fuel).

“Of just as much interest will be any profit forecast for the 12 months to September 2024, should Mr Lundgren feel able to give one, although he may prefer to wait until the actual full-year results in late November for that,” Mould and Hewson said.

“The current analysts’ consensus forecast is looking for a further increase in pre-tax profit to £552m. That would still be below 2015’s all-time high of £686m, which may be why the shares are still well below the peak seen back then.”

EasyJet currently plans to expand its fleet with plans for the next six years, including the arrival of 8 new aircrafts in 2023 and 18 in 2024. By 2028, they plan to add 163 new aircrafts in total.

“A further sign of management’s confidence in the recovery (or lack of it) would be any changes to its aircraft purchasing plans… To cover these purchases, as well as leases and maintenance payments, capital expenditure is expected to be £800 m in the year just ended,” Mould and Hewson said.

Friday 13 October

  • Trading statement from Ashmore
  • Chinese inflation figures
  • In the US, quarterly results from JPMorgan Chase, UnitedHealth, BlackRock, Citigroup and Wells Fargo

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