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What to watch: Moonpig confirms listing plans, Kingfisher gains and pound hits one-week high against euro

Kumutha Ramanathan
·4 min read
The outside of the London Stock Exchange building is seen in the City of London, March 7, 2005. The London Stock Exchange board has met to review its options after Deutsche Boerse scrapped a 1.3 billion pound ($2.5 billion) plan to buy it, leaving Euronext as the only party with a declared interest in winning control of Europe's largest equity market. MRKET REUTERS/Toby Melville  TM/ASA
Moonpig has confirmed it's planning a London listing after seeing sales surge amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Credit: Toby Melville/Reuters)

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and around the world.

Moonpig confirms London listing plans

Online greeting cards retailer Moonpig Group Plc has confirmed its plans to list in London, following a surge in online shopping amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It joins other e-commerce businesses that have seen been buoyed by more people shopping online as they are forced to stay home due to coronavirus restrictions.

Among the online pandemic benefactors who have also chosen to list following their success in 2020 is THG Holdings’ (THG.L), which listed in the UK.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown

Moonpig owns the brands Moonpig in the UK and Greetz in the Netherlands. Beyond coronavirus, the business is also moving forward with its listing plans now that the UK and Brussels have struck a long-awaited Brexit trade agreement, which has removed some uncertainty around future relations between both trading blocs.

Moonpig held a 60% market share of UK online card specialists in 2019 and was among the top 65% top online card sellers in the Netherlands of that same year, according to the business.

It is reportedly targeting a valuation above £1bn ($1.4bn) for the London listing, according to Sky News.

Kingfisher gains on DIY boom

UK home improvement retailer Kingfisher (KGF.L) saw its shares leap as it raised its profit outlook on Tuesday following another successful quarter in sales as the business continues benefitting from the do-it-yourself (DIY) trend, spurred on by more people being forced to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kingfisher owns B&Q as well as Screwfix in Ireland and Britain, in addition to other brands.

Shares were trading up 7% at around 10.03am in London.

Kingfisher reached a one-week high as it announced it was raising its profit guidance as the business benefits from the do-it-yourself trend. Chart: Yahoo Finance
Kingfisher reached a one-week high as it announced it was raising its profit guidance as the business benefits from the do-it-yourself trend. Chart: Yahoo Finance

Group sales for the fourth quarter gained 17.4%, and the business has also upgraded its profit expectations, saying it “is comfortable with the top end of the range of current sell-side analyst estimates(4) for FY 20/21 adjusted profit before tax.”

Despite its successes amid the lockdowns in Europe, some parts of the B&Q business were forced to close due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

"While the strength of our Q4 trading, to date, is reassuring, uncertainty over COVID-19 and the impact of lockdown restrictions in most of our markets continue to limit our visibility,” said Thierry Garnier, chief executive officer.

“Longer term, we are confident that the strategic and operational actions we are taking are building a strong foundation for sustainable long-term growth. We also believe that the renewed focus on homes is supportive for our markets.”

Pound hits one-week high against euro

The pound rallied on Tuesday morning, hitting a one-week high against the euro.

Sterling rose 0.6% against the eurozone currency (GBPEUR=X) to hit €1.1177 at around 10am in London. It marked the highest level since 4 January.

The pound was also gaining on the dollar (GBPUSD=X), up 0.6% to $1.3592. However, cable was only at levels seen last Friday and was losing momentum as the trading day shifted from Asia to Europe.

“From a technical perspective, cable has found some support after a worsening Covid situation, negative rate talk and a stronger dollar saw a sell off into the start of the year,” said Adam Vettese, a market analyst at eToro.

“Whilst rising yields are helping push the dollar up, talk of more fiscal stimulus, which is expected, will keep a cap on gains and as such it seems buyers have found GBP attractive at these levels. Over 2 million people vaccinated in the UK being announced may also be contributing to sentiment.”

European stocks flat amid soaring COVID-19 cases and vaccination campaigns

European equities had a modest start on Tuesday as COVID-19 vaccination campaigns get underway and global markets come off a mild start to the trading week amid concerns of unsustainable valuations across asset classes.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) opened up 0.1% at the market open in London. Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) fell 0.8% in Frankfurt, while the CAC 40 (^FCHI) was up 0.2% in Paris.

US futures also made modest gains. The S&P futures (ES=F) were up 0.1%. The Dow Jones (YM=F) gained 0.1% and the Nasdaq (NQ=F) was higher 0.3%.

The global COVID-19 vaccination campaign continues with mixed effectiveness between nations.

Asian markets were largely in positive territory following a holiday period. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) gained 0.1% at market close, the Hong Kong Hang Seng (^HSI) leapt up 1.2%, and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) was higher 2.2% at market close. South Korea’s KOSPI (^KS11) fell 0.7%.

Watch: What is inflation and why is it important?