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.
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.
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.”
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 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 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%.
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