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Trending tickers: ITV, Nissan, Warner Bros Discovery, Balfour Beatty

The latest investor updates on stocks that are trending on Thursday.

A wide closeup of the picket line during the writers and actors strike in front of Paramount Studios
ITV was hit by the writers and actors strike last year, (Erik Morgan)

ITV (ITV.L)

Broadcasting giant ITV has revealed a 16% plunge in revenues from its production arm after taking a hit from last year's US writers' and actors' strike.

The group said revenues tumbled to £382m in the three months to March 31 from £457m a year earlier.

It also expects to see ITV Studios’ revenues fall again over the second quarter after the strike action, which was one of the longest in the industry’s history, brought productions to a halt in 2023.

Read more: FTSE 100 LIVE: European stocks muted ahead of Bank of England interest rate decision

The firm, which is behind TV shows I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! and Love Island, previously warned the strikes would delay around £80m of revenues from 2024 into 2025. In its latest update, it expects ITV Studios’ revenues to be “broadly flat” overall in 2024.

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Total advertising revenues rose 3% in the first quarter and it is expecting an 8% jump in the half-year to 30 June, with the upcoming UEFA European Football Championship driving ad demand.

Read more: Bank of England expected to hold interest rates

"After a tough period last year, shares in ITV have been rebounding in 2024 – in March the company said it is seeing more confidence in the advertising market and it enjoyed its biggest drama success in more than a decade last quarter, Mr Bates vs The Post Office helping to boost investor confidence in the business," Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said.

"ITV is also hoping for a boost from programmes like Hells Kitchen US in the second half of the year and it is also pinning its hopes on stronger ad revenues around the Euros football championships, which begin in June.”

Nissan (4021.T)

Nissan stock rose overnight after it revealed it almost doubled its full-year net profit over the last 12 months.

The Japanese carmaker said demand was rising at home and in North America, Europe and China, where it has previously struggled to compete with fast-growing electric vehicle firms backed by Beijing.

Profit totalled 426.6 billion yen (£2.2bn), up 92.3%, however, Nissan expects that to fall by about 10% to 380 billion yen (£2bn) in 2024-25.

Operating income rose more than 50%, thanks to “an increase in sales volume, improved net sales per unit and disciplined management of fixed costs.”

Read more: Job market easing makes case for interest rate cut

It also forecast a dip in earnings as a boost from a weakening yen fades. Makoto Uchida, chief executive, said: "In the mid and long term, whether it’s a strong or weak yen... volatility in forex markets is not very beneficial. It will be a challenge.”

Nissan has said it will mass produce electric vehicles powered by next-generation batteries by early 2029, offering solid-state batteries in a range of models, including pickup trucks.

At last month’s Beijing Auto Show, Nissan announced a partnership with China’s search and mapping group Baidu in artificial intelligence technology and promised to produce more cars in the country.

Warner Bros Discovery (WBD)

Warner Bros. Discovery is set to report first-quarter earnings before the bell on Thursday as the media giant works to pare its debt amid a declining linear TV business and an unfavourable ad market.

Investors will also be closely watching for any updates on NBA media rights after a Wall Street Journal report said the company is at risk of losing those rights to competitor NBCUniversal (CMCSA).

On Monday, WBD CEO, David Zaslav, did not elaborate on the status of ongoing talks while speaking at the annual Milken Institute conference in Beverly Hills.

"We continue to be in constructive negotiations with the NBA," he said. "It’s a great league. The TNT team does a terrific job. And we love the NBA."

Read more: Warner Bros. Discovery earnings preview

The company has struggled in recent quarters, with profits hit by a weak linear advertising environment and pressure on affiliate fees, or the fees pay-TV providers pay to network owners to carry their channels.

This is likely to impact first-quarter EBITDA and put full-year adjusted EBITDA at risk of falling below $10bn, according to the latest Bloomberg estimates. That's $4bn below what analysts had expected at the time of its merger.

Wall Street expects revenue of $10.27bn for the first quarter versus $10.70bn in Q1 2023 and subscriber net additions of 1.25 million (compared to 1.6 million), according to Bloomberg estimates.

Balfour Beatty (BBY.L)

Balfour Beatty stock was trading flat on Thursday after it revealed it expects profits to increase this year as confidence returns to the building sector despite industry-wide challenges

The construction company said trading since the start of the year has been in line with expectations, noting progress made on several of its major projects.

Cash for 2024 should be in line with the £842m on hand at the end of 2023, Balfour added, after averaging £756m at the close of each month so far this year.

Read more: UK property market rebound hit by higher mortgage rates

It comes as Balfour continues work on a number of major British infrastructure projects, alongside FTSE 100 giants Rolls-Royce (RR.L) and BP (BP).

The firm has been selected as a construction partner for the expansion work at Rolls Royce’s facility in Raynesway, Derby.

It also follows data on Wednesday that showed that Britain’s construction sector grew in April at its fastest pace in 14 months, as companies increased their spending on renovations.

Data from S&P said that there had been “solid rates of expansion” in the commercial and civil engineering activity, although there had been a setback for house building as high interest rates continued to have an effect.

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