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MARKET REPORT: Wizz Air loses altitude as recovery lags rivals

Fuller flights: Wizz Air saw an increase in ticket sales, which more than doubled its revenue to £802m in the three months to December

Shares of Wizz Air fell on fears the pace of its recovery would lag behind rivals.

It saw an increase in ticket sales, which saw its revenue more than double to £802m in the three months to December. It came as it carried nearly 12.4 million passengers in the third quarter, up 59.1% from the same period a year earlier.

Its load factor – the number of seats sold on each flight – rose 10.2 percentage points to 87.3%.

Fuller flights: Wizz Air saw an increase in ticket sales, which more than doubled its revenue to £802m in the three months to December

Fuller flights: Wizz Air saw an increase in ticket sales, which more than doubled its revenue to £802m in the three months to December

Wizz returned to a profit of £30m, having suffered a loss of £235m a year earlier.

Although it is still on track to post a loss at the end of the current financial year, it envisages a return to profit during the year until April 2024.

This contrasted with this week’s update from Easyjet, which said it would be back in the black this year after three years of losses. It also reported record summer holiday bookings.

When asked if Wizz had seen the same thing, his boss Jozsef Varadi said: “Bookings are strong, but I don’t want to get excited. We see that the market remains intact. People keep stealing.

There was good news for Jet2 as the airline and package holiday company improved its profit forecast for the year with bookings for next winter ahead of them before the pandemic hits. don’t knock.

As a result, profit for the year to March is expected to be between £370m and £385m, well above the £317m analysts expected.

Wizz fell 7.2%, or 216p, to 2,796p while Jet2 added 2.5%, or 29.5p, to 1,207p and Easyjet rose 0.3%, or 1.6p, to 515p.

The FTSE 100 ended its two-day losing streak with a return to positive territory – up 0.21%, or 16.24 points, to 7761.11 while the FTSE 250 climbed 0.56 %, or 111.47 points, to 19915.51.

Stock Watch – Inspections

Eyewear company Inspecs had its best day on the stock market after a recovery in business on several fronts.

The Bath Group achieved sales of £216m in 2022 – similar to the previous 12 months – while transport costs fell and losses narrowed at its Norville lens manufacturing business.

After delaying the expansion of two factories in October, a surge in orders means construction will begin in the second half of 2023.

The shares, which floated at 195p in 2020, jumped 50.4%, or 31.5p, to 94p.

Official figures in the United States showed the economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.9% in the last three months of 2022.

This beat estimates of 2.6%, but still fell short of the 3.2% growth rate recorded in the previous quarter.

Back in London, Prudential is set to open a branch of its Hong Kong business in Macau, expanding the insurer’s presence to 24 markets in Asia and Africa. It rose 2.8%, or 37.5p, to 1371.5p.

Private equity firm 3i climbed 9.2%, or 134p, to 1,594p after a bumper performance for its biggest investment. Action, the non-food discount retailer with more than 2,000 stores in 10 countries, reported a 30% increase in sales and 40% increase in profits for the year ending January, prices affordable attracting more customers.

Wealth manager St James’s Place rose 1.5%, or 17.5p, to 1,217p after shrugging off financial market turmoil to deliver its second-best year for fresh money.

It raked in £3.9bn in the three months to December and recorded £2.1bn in net inflows, taking the total for the year to £9.8bn.

IG Group revenue rose 10% in the six months to November to a record £519.1million.

The trading company said customers had found “opportunities to trade” despite economic pressures around the world. The shares rose 1.3%, or 10p, to 790p.

Britvic, the drinks maker behind Robinsons, saw revenue rise 9.9% to £411m in the three months to December thanks to strong trading over the festive period. It fell 1.3%, or 10p, to 764p.

There was little to celebrate for Greencore as the sandwich maker warned its slow start to the year, made worse by industrial action and soaring labor and labor costs. energy, would mean that its results would be weaker than expected. The shares plunged 3.3%, or 2.55p, to 73.9p.

Elsewhere, shares of Applied Graphene Materials will be suspended from February 1 after it admitted it will miss the January 31 deadline to publish its accounts. It fell 8.9%, or 0.6p, to 6.15p.

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