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Trending tickers: Wizz Air | Crest Nicholson | Vodafone | GameStop

The latest investor updates on stocks that are trending on Thursday

Stewardesses of Wizz Air take a selfie during the unveiling ceremony of the 100th plane of its fleet at Budapest Airport, Hungary, June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
Wizz Air to return to profit as passengers seek summer sun. Photo: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters (Bernadett Szabo / reuters)

Wizz Air (WIZZ.L)

Wizz Air shares were higher as the airline said it will return to profit this year as the peak summer travel season gets underway.

The Hungarian low-cost carrier said net income in the coming fiscal year will reach €350m (£301m) to €450m, compared with a net loss of €535.1m last year.

Wizz Air almost doubled its passenger numbers in the last financial year, to 31 March, carrying 51 million – a company record – up from 27 million the previous year when pandemic disruption hit demand.

Revenue per available seat kilometre jumped to €3.98, a 33% increase on the year earlier, while Wizz Air also had a load factor of 87.8%, up from 78.1%.

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“Wizz Air is well on its way to achieving profitability, propelled by impressive growth in passenger volume, along with higher fares and reduced costs,” Olly Anibaba, analyst at Third Bridge, said.

Read more: FTSE muted as UK jobs market shows signs of cooling

“The competition between Wizz Air and Ryanair is intensifying. Wizz Air is looking to grow beyond its core markets in Eastern Europe but has weaker brand awareness in Western Europe, and this impacts slot allocation. Our experts say the best way for Wizz Air to penetrate the Western European market further is to leverage the A320 fleet to target low-traffic airports and make the most of first-user advantage.”

“Capacity shrinkage at national airlines in countries like Romania could provide opportunities for Wizz Air to increase its margins and market share,” he added.

Crest Nicholson (CRST.L)

Property developer Crest Nicholson saw shares slump after reporting shrinking sales amid “rapidly” falling consumer confidence and rising borrowing costs, following the September mini-Budget.

Crest Nicholson has reported a fall in revenues in the six months to 30 April to £282.7m, down from £364m a year before. Adjusted pre-tax profits more than halved to £20.9m, from £52.5m.

The decline reflected economic uncertainty and softer demand for homes weighing on the housing market, the company said.

It also saw its adjusted pre-tax profit more than halve from £52.5m to £20.9m this year, which it said was worsened by cost inflation affecting construction.

Peter Truscott, chief executive, said the period began amid “the worst of the economic uncertainty arising from the September 2022 mini-budget”.

“If interest rates continue to rise, and remain elevated for a sustained period of time, this will undoubtedly exacerbate this issue even further and start to impact demand and confidence again. We continue to call on Government to recognise this challenge and provide further support to these potential homeowners,” Truscott warned.

Vodafone (VOD.L)

Vodafone has slid 5%, giving up yesterday’s gains, as investors await the terms of its deal with Hutchison.

Vodafone and the owner of Three network, CK Hutchison (0001.HK), are in the final stage of agreeing to merge their British operations, with an announcement expected as soon as Friday or early next week, Reuters reported.

The new company will be owned 51% by Vodafone to 49% by Hutchison. Estimates suggest the combined group could be valued at around £15bn.

The respective stakes would be achieved by adjusting the ownership of debt rather than exchanging cash, the companies explained in October.

The merger, which will create the UK’s largest mobile operator, will amass 28 million customers and cut the number of major operators in the UK from four to three.

Any deal is likely to face intense scrutiny from regulators following a blocked takeover of O2 by Three in 2016.

GameStop (GME)

Shares of GameStop dropped more than 20% in extended trading after the video game retailer announced it had fired CEO Matthew Furlong.

It released the news on the same day it reported its revenue dropped and its loss narrowed in its fiscal first quarter compared to the year-ago period.

Ryan Cohen – a billionaire investor held in high esteem by memestock traders following the GameStop short squeeze in 2021 – has been promoted to the role of executive chairman.

Read more: What next for property stocks amid signs of market strain?

Despite being profitable for the first time in years back in March, GameStop is back in the red with a net loss of $50.5m for the period. It also cancelled its planned call with analysts to discuss the results.

It reported a quarterly revenue of $1.24bn, down from $1.38bn in the same period last year.

Hours after the change was announced, Cohen posted a bizarre and cryptic tweet.

Watch: Markets in 3 Minutes: Stocks to Keep Rallying Throughout June

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