LONDON BRIEFING: Liontrust's bid for GAM fails; Hays names new CEO

(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are called higher, with investors cheered by a "stunning" set ...

Alliance News 24 August, 2023 | 6:46AM
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(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are called higher, with investors cheered by a "stunning" set of results from Nvidia after the closing bell in New York.

The chip maker reported "record" revenue in its hotly-anticipated second quarter results, as both its sales and earnings beat market forecasts.

The Santa Clara, California-based firm guided for further growth, and said it would buy back USD25 billion of its shares.

Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, dubbed the results "stunning".

"Nvidia is not and will not be concerned about the industry-wide slump in chips demand, thanks to a decent surge in demand for AI processors in data centers. Magic is happening for Nvidia," she said.

There is still likely to be a note of caution in the day's trading, however. Investors will be awaiting news from Jackson Hole, where central bankers will be meeting as the symposium gets underway later on Thursday.

"Jackson Hole has previously served as a platform for the pre-announcement of momentous monetary policy decisions. Therefore, this week's upcoming event holds some significance for markets," explained SPI Asset Management's Stephen Innes.

In early UK company news, Intertek announced an acquisition. Liontrust Asset Management said its bid for Zurich-listed GAM was likely to be declared a failure. Recruiter Hays reported record annual fees as well as a change in leadership.

Here is what you need to know at the London market open:




FTSE 100: called up 45.6 points, 0.6%, at 7,366.13


Hang Seng: up 2.2% at 18,238.90

Nikkei 225: closed up 0.9% at 32,287.21

S&P/ASX 200: closed up 0.5% at 7,182.10


DJIA: closed up points 184.15, or 0.5%, at 34,472.98

S&P 500: closed up 48.46 points, or 1.1%, at 4,436.01

Nasdaq Composite: closed up 215.16 points, or 1.6%, at 13,721.03


EUR: up at USD1.0870 (USD1.0850)

GBP: up at USD1.2724 (USD1.2698)

USD: up at JPY145.20 (JPY144.66)

GOLD: up at USD1,921.86 per ounce (USD1,916.27)

OIL (Brent): down at USD83.13 a barrel (USD83.28)

(changes since previous London equities close)




Thursday's key economic events still to come:

US Jackson Hole economic policy symposium

11:00 BST UK CBI distributive trades survey

08:30 EDT US Chicago Fed national activity index

08:30 EDT US unemployment insurance weekly claims report

16:30 EDT US foreign central bank holdings

16:30 EDT US federal discount window borrowings


Chinese customs suspended imports of all "aquatic products" from Japan over the release of wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean. "In order to comprehensively prevent the food safety risks of radioactive contamination caused by the discharge of nuclear wastewater from Fukushima into the sea, protect the health of Chinese consumers, and ensure the safety of imported food, the General Administration of Customs has... decided to completely suspend the import of aquatic products originating in Japan from August 24, 2023, including edible aquatic animals," the customs authority said in a statement.




Credit Suisse raises Pennon Group to 'outperform' (neutral) - price target 760 (900) pence




Intertek said it has acquired PlayerLync Holdings, as software-as-a-service-based platform which combines mobile learning, operational support and compliance, content management and people engagements. PlayerLync will join Intertek's People Assurance business. It employs 35 people and generated GBP6.1 million in 2022. Intertek provided no financial details.




Liontrust Asset Management said its offer for GAM Holding is likely to be declared unsuccessful on August 29. The asset manager said a total of 53.3 million shares were tendered, around 33% of GAM, falling short of the minimum acceptance level. Further, Liontrust expects to see a GBP11 million one-off charge in relation to the offer. "We are disappointed we did not win the support of the majority of GAM's shareholders and are grateful to those GAM and Liontrust shareholders who did back our offer," said Liontrust Chief Executive John Ions. Liontrust's attempts to acquire GAM have not gone down well with everyone. The sternest opposition to the Liontrust buyout of GAM comes from French telecommunications billionaire Xavier Niel, through NewGAMe SA. NewGAMe is controlled by Rock Investment, which is itself owned by NJJ Holding, Niel's personal holding company. NewGAMe, alongside Geneva-based wealth manager Bruellan, back in May said Liontrust's offer undervalues GAM.


Recruitment company Hays reported "record" fees in its financial year ended June 30. Net fees rose 8.8% to GBP1.29 billion from GBP1.19 billion a year before, or by 6% on a like-for-like basis. This was driven by a good performance in Temp, though Perm also saw modest growth. "Growth [was] driven by our actions to increase fee margins, supported by positive effects of wage inflation globally, offsetting volume decline as Perm markets toughened through the year," it explained. Pretax profit dropped 6.0% to GBP192.1 million from GBP204.3 million. The firm proposed a 5% increase to core dividends at 3.00p, as well as a further 2.24p special payout. Additionally, the company announced board member Dirk Hahn will take over as its new chief executive from next Friday. Hahn is currently managing director of its Germany and Continental Europe, Middle East & Africa arms.




AIA Group reported a surge in profit for the first half of 2023, as investments yielded returns. The Hong Kong-based insurance and finance company posted a half-year net profit of USD2.26 billion, a jump of 46% from USD1.66 billion a year before. Insurance revenue grew slightly to USD8.35 billion from USD8.24 billion. Notably, the company reported an investment return of USD7.41 billion, compared to an investment loss of USD28.04 billion a year prior.

AIA declared an interim dividend of 42.29 Hong Kong cents per share, up 5.0% from 40.28 cents a year prior.


By Elizabeth Winter, Alliance News senior markets reporter

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Liontrust Asset Management PLC 543.00 GBX -1.27 -
Intertek Group PLC 3,976.00 GBX -0.92
Pennon Group PLC 753.00 GBX -0.46 -
Hays PLC 104.80 GBX -1.04 -
AIA Group Ltd 70.15 HKD -0.36
NVIDIA Corp 482.42 USD 0.98

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