Staffing naturally struggles but easyJet continues to impress says Chris Bailey

FREE Podcast: ShareProphets Radio Edition THIRTEEN with Tom Winnifrith, Chris Bailey and the legendary Gabriel Grego. Listen HERE

One day fund manager types will realise that shares in the staffing space are geared plays on the hope level in the world. I see updates from sector peers PageGroup (PAGE) and Robert Walters (RWA) are decidedly shabby in nature, citing a bunch of macro-level issues as reasons why their profits are not set to continue to blast strongly forward. I have mused on both before - the former most recently here - and the story of lots of non-UK growth driving profits to record levels and the like has suddenly hit the tough comparisons point...

Versarien Spanish deal: Neill Ricketts thrilled, the Spanish don’t seem to give a toss. Read HERE

Naturally, this means that the love has now gone out of both shares, as investors catch-up with reality. If you want to bottom-fish in areas which are already much more disliked then I would suggest you look in the industrials, commodity or financials and not yet in the services space, filtering aggressively for sensible balance sheets and businesses with a real edge at some level. A company which naturally had much more of a Brexit and related gripe is easyJet (EZJ). I have talked positively about it – most recently when the share went below the 10 quid level. This has worked out eventually into a good call, albeit a little assisted by the demise of Thomas Cook and the subsequent tightening of the shorter haul air travel market.

Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: Sith Lord Zak Mir to enter the eighth circle of hell tomorrow, or is it the 4th? Listen HERE

EasyJet is a sensible business and I am a little perplexed why the shares are down after a trading update (with a fuller set of numbers to follow on the 19th November) reiterated hopes and even concluded that a profit before tax delivery of £420-430m would be 'in the upper half of the previous guidance range'. Well maybe investors are getting greedy as the company has at face value done a decent job and even noted some benefits from strikes at some of its peer companies. Load factor was down slightly, but at 91.5% is hardly something to worry too much about. Far more impressive was the 8.6% rise in passenger numbers to 96 million and that total revenue per seat returned to growth in H2. Step forward ancillary revenues! Yes, buying that snack on a flight really does make a difference!

Neil Woodford Redemptions Watch: buy when there’s blood on the streets? Not here! Nigel Somerville writes HERE

Clearly conditions - despite the demise of Thomas Cook - are competitive but at least it did not ramble at length about travel disruption about Brexit potentially lingering over the next year. Looking ahead, there was some griping about costs including 'an adverse impact of foreign exchange and increased Emissions Trading System (ETS) costs' but this should have been no huge surprise. In short, easyJet shares are still in play to gain further altitude with my target remaining a low teens share price (say 1300p) before I have a think about the stock again. The trading update said nothing about the dividend but I expect no overt surprise here and a 5% odd yield plus its good balance sheet (or as good as an airline can be) should allow investors to sit back and relax. If we see a ten quid or lower share price again, I am buying more.

Read HERE: Zotefoams – excitable RNS Reach follows a new broker appointment & profit warning. Hmmm…

Filed under: easyJet, podcast, Gabriel Grego, Versarien, Sith Lord Zak Mir, Woodford, Zotefoams

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