Profit taking hits FTSE 100, advertising recovery for ITV

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“A bout of profit taking was probably inevitable after the blow-out rally sparked by positive news on covid-19 vaccines delivered this week and a busy day for corporate news on Thursday saw the FTSE 100 take a step back,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.

“Record UK GDP growth has little relevance to the index thanks to its global horizons. Burberry, construction firm Grafton and defence technology group QinetiQ were among the names in the London market to see positive responses to their latest updates.

“Burberry saw a return to strong performance in its Asian business. The fashion name was one of the first to be hit by the pandemic when it was seen as being a problem merely for China given a lot of its growth had come from the emerging Chinese middle class.

“Now, with the country ahead of its counterparts in the West in both tackling the virus and getting its economy back on track, Burberry’s exposure is a boon rather than a boondoggle.

Legal & General saw investors check out suggesting they were less than enthused by its plans for growth and the dividend in a capital markets day.

“Oil prices took a step back after enjoying big gains in the last week, pressuring the likes of BP and Shell, while gold continued to hover around $1,860 amid some rotation out of safe havens.”

ITV

“Free-to-air broadcaster ITV is beginning to adjust its set after a big hit to advertising from the pandemic but the picture still remains a little fuzzy for now.

“There are undoubtedly positive signs in terms of the trajectory of advertising in today’s third quarter update and the company even expects a better performance than last year in the fourth quarter.

“ITV will hope that the lockdown experience will have boosted the attractions of the television medium to both viewers, stuck at home with little to do except watch telly, and the advertisers who want eyeballs on their products and services.

“In this context It’s somewhat disappointing to see a modest drop in the company’s audience share but this was probably inevitable given people will often go to the BBC for their news and there has been more than enough news to consume.

“The production side of the business, an area of priority in recent years as the company looks to reduce its reliance on volatile ad spend, is moving towards normality although the new lockdown in England won’t help.

“ITV will be pining for Love Island after its absence hit online viewing and the return of I’m a Celebrity to our screens shortly is heartwarming news for the company.

“Notably the results gave little insight into how its Britbox streaming joint venture with the BBC is progressing. Operating in an extremely competitive and crowded marketplace it remains to be seen if the company can make a success out of the platform.”

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The daily market update is written by Russ Mould, AJ Bell’s Investment Director and his team. The article highlights the movement in the main index, winners and losers on the day and any macro-economic announcements.