It has been a volatile week for easyJet, the budget airline. A downgrade from analysts and a sharp fall was followed by a minor recovery, after strong passenger numbers for the month noted a 92% load factor – the measure of aircraft capacity utilisation.
Takeover excitement boosted Mothercare - American company Destination Maternity has had two approaches rejected by the British company and some analysts believe the news could draw out other potential bidders.
Saga missed out on the wider market rally after receiving a lukewarm reception from analysts at some of the banks that floated the company. The initial public offering of the over-50s insurer and travel group is widely regarded as a high-profile flop. Sold to investors at 185p, shares in the company disappointed on their first day of trading and then fell below the flotation price. The main sticking point for many investors at the time of the float was that Saga was being valued as a leisure stock, and not an insurance one. The company has a strong consumer brand, but it is insurance that faces the most scrutiny with the vast majority of its earnings coming from financial services.
Sports Direct, was one on the big risers last week on news that shareholders had backed the retailer’s third attempt to hand founder Mike Ashley a £200m bonus. Analysts think that resolution of this issue removes a degree of uncertainty around the business and the company can now re-focus on the longer-term growth story.
Strong first-quarter numbers from Poundland, which has a number of stores in Sussex, sent shares in the recently-floated retailer upwards.
The encouraging American jobs data inevitably boosted markets on the other side of the Atlantic, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average breaking through the 17,000 level for the first time.