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Welcome back to City Bulletin. Our break is over, but big UK corporate news is yet to make a comeback. In the next week or so we will start getting Christmas trade data from retail and hospitality businesses.
This morning’s early updates come from the restaurant chain Tasty Plc, which operates 54 venues under the dim t and Wildwood brands, and Wizz Air, the Hungary-based low-cost airline.
Wizz Air stuck to an aggressive expansion strategy despite the pandemic, and grabbed Norwegian Air Shuttle’s Gatwick take-off and landing slots just before Christmas. Today, it said, it flew about four times as many passengers in December as in the same month in 2020, and 30 percent more passengers during 2021 as a whole than in the previous year.
Meanwhile, Tasty did not surprisingly point to disappointing trading in December, “especially given the level of the previous few months’ trading”. Rising infection rates and “especially the reinstatement of homework advice” have significantly reduced eating out “and specifically deterred the larger Christmas bookings”, the company said.
While trading for hospitality businesses is likely to make a sad reading, the bigger question is how retailers have fared through Omicron disruption. One of those to watch is Next, which investors are updating Thursday.
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It was a good start to the pandemic for British hedge fund manager Chris Rokos and partners: they made more than £ 900 million in profit in the year to March 2021. But performance has soured since then, our correspondents report. Hedge Fund Correspondent Laurence Fletcher explains how hedge funds struggled to bring in new money as performance lagged behind this separate analysis, which is worth reading.
British business asked a shorter Covid self-isolation period, report our correspondents, urging the government to reduce it from seven days to five to reduce labor shortages. But the UK Health Security Agency recently set out reasons to keep the isolation period to seven days.
And Sir John Parker, whose review in diversity in council chamber ended last month, FTSE urged 100 companies to commit to plans to appoint at least one board member from an ethnic minority background before releasing its final report. Daniël Thomas has the full story.
Beyond the square mile
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was convicted of conspiracy to defraud investors by a jury in a criminal fraud trial. Holmes was convicted on three charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the initiation of blood tests, reports Miles Kruppa of San Francisco, and is not guilty on four further charges. The jury was caught on three remaining charges. Holmes can appeal.
appeal became the world’s first $ 3tn company last night after shares in the technology company rose above $ 182.86, raising its market capitalization above the landmark level. Apple became a $ 1 billion company in August 2018 and a $ 2 billion company in 2020 as the pandemic increased demand for technology. It briefly lost its title of the world’s most valuable company to Microsoft at the end of October. Patrick McGee reported, but its shares have since risen strongly. Lex has his opinion here.
Meantime That of Tesla shares rose during trading on Monday, rising 13.5 percent after the electric car company delivered a record number of vehicles in the final months of last year. However, what is a market capitalization of $ 1.2 tons next to Apple? Richard Waters, editor of The American West Coast the lake.
Jonathan Guthrie, Head of Lex, aim for “stakes” of activist investors. When journalists talk about activists’ “interests”, it is often equated with a shareholding, he notes. But it’s rarely that simple. Investors ‘real exposure to gains and losses can be much lower – and the alignment of activists’ interests with other investors’s is less strong than readers (and writers) can assume.
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