Gold Declines On Dollar Strength Amid Hawkish Fed Remarks

U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Edge Down To 194,000

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly edged slightly lower in the week ended February 11th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims slipped to 194,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 195,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 200,000 from the 196,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Michael Pearce, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics, said the current level of jobless claims suggests labor market conditions remain “exceptionally tight.”

“That is consistent with most other indicators which suggest that the labor market is still carrying plenty of momentum, leaving the Fed on track to raise rates at its March meeting, and probably at the May meeting too,” Pearce added.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average crept up to 189,500, an increase of 500 from the previous week’s revised average of 189,000.

The report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also climbed by 16,000 to 1.696 million in the week ended February 4th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also rose to 1,673,000, an increase of 10,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,662,750.

EDF Reports Loss For FY22, But Revenue Climbs

EDF Group SA (EDFEF.PK), a French electric utility firm, on Friday reported a loss for fiscal 2022, compared to prior year’s profit. However, the state-owned company posted a rise in revenue.

Luc Rémont, CEO of EDF, said: “The 2022 results were significantly affected by the decline in our electricity output, and also by exceptional regulatory measures introduced in France in difficult market conditions.”

For the 12-month period to December 31, 2022, the Paris-headquartered energy provider recorded a net loss of 17.940 billion euros or 5.03 euros per share, compared with a profit of 5.113 billion euros or 1.36 euro per share of 2021.

Loss before taxes of consolidated companies was at 22.916 billion euros as against a profit of 5.585 billion euros in the previous year.

Operating loss stood at 19.363 billion euros, versus last year’s earnings of 5.225 billion euros.

EBITDA loss was at 4.986 billion euros, compared with EBITDA of 18.005 billion euros in 2021.

For the full-year, sales rose to 143.476 billion euros from previous year’s 84.461 billion euros.

Kingspan Group Prelim. Full-year Profit Climbs

Kingspan Group Plc (KGP.L), an Irish building materials firm, on Friday reported a rise in preliminary earnings for fiscal 2022, reflecting an increase in revenue.

For 12-month period, the company reported a preliminary post-tax profit of 616 million euros or 330 cents per share, compared with 571 million euros or 306 cents per share of 2021.

EBITDA climbed to 998 million euros from last year’s 893 million euros.

Trading profit was at 833 million euros, higher than 755 million euros of previous fiscal.

For 2022, the Group generated revenue of 8.341 billion euros, higher than last year’s 6.497 billion euros.

City Of London Investment Trust HY Net Return Drops

City of London Investment Trust Plc. (CTY.L) reported that its net return after taxation for the half-year ended 31 December 2022 dropped to 67.20 million pounds or 14.36 pence per share from 117.60 million pounds or 26.34 pence per share in the prior year.

Gross revenue and capital gains was 73.41 million pounds down from 123.36 million pounds in the previous year.

City of London has declared two interim dividends of 5.00 pence each so far during this financial year. The company said it is confidence that it will be able to increase the total annual dividend for the fifty-seventh consecutive year. The quarterly dividend rate will be reviewed by the Board before the third interim is declared in March 2023.

Sartorius FY22 Profit Rises, Orders Down; Lifts Dividend; Backs FY23 View; Stock Down

Sartorius AG (SARTF), a German biopharmaceutical firm, on Friday reported a rise in earnings for fiscal 2022, but orders declined. Further, the company lifted dividend, and maintained fiscal 2023 outlook.

For the fiscal 2022, the company recorded a net profit of 655.4 million euros or 9.57 euros per share, higher than 553.4 million euros or 8.08 euros per share in 2021.

Underlying EBITDA was at 1.410 billion euros, higher than last year’s 1.175 billion euros.

Sales revenue moved up to 4.174 billion euros from 3.449 billion euros in the previous year.

Order intake dropped 6.1 percent from last year to 4.01 billion euros.

The company will pay a dividend of 1.43 euros per ordinary share, higher than last year’s 1.25 euros per share.

Further, a dividend of 1.44 euros per preference share will also be paid.

Looking ahead for 2023, Sartorius continues to expect sales revenue to increase by an amount in the low single-digit percentage range. However, excluding Covid-19-related business, the increase would be in the high single-digit percentage range.

The Group expects its 2023 underlying EBITDA margin to be around the level of the previous year’s 33.8 percent.

In Germany, Sartorius shares were trading at 344.50 euros, down 2.4 percent.

Gold Declines On Dollar Strength Amid Hawkish Fed Remarks

Gold prices fell on Friday, the dollar advanced and Treasury yields climbed amid worries of more interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Spot gold slid half a percent to $1,826.47 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were down 0.9 percent at $1,834.75.

Strong U.S. data released overnight and hawkish Fed remarks fueled inflation and rate-hike worries.

U.S. wholesale inflation slowed in January, but on a month-to-month basis, producer prices increased by 0.7 percent after having declined by 0.5 percent in December, data showed on Thursday.

Initial jobless claims data showed a resilient labor market, putting further pressure on the U.S. central bank to tighten monetary policy.

Meanwhile, Fed officials James Bullard and Loretta Mester warned in separate speeches that the central bank could raise interest rates at a sharper pace in the coming months, if inflation remains sticky.

Fed President Loretta Mester said there is need for more tightening to lower inflation back to the Fed’s 2 percent target.

Separately, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard argued that there was a good case for the Fed to have been more aggressive with its recent rate decision.

The U.S. economic calendar remains light today, with a report on U.S. import and export prices along with a reading on leading U.S. economic indicators likely to attract investor attention.