Share prices of most companies in the marketing sector registered little change in the month to 12 March and the sector’s MSFI Index rose by only 1.37% to 74.8 (12 Jan 2001: 100). The FTSE All-Share Index was equally calm with a small 1.17% rise.
However, there were a few notable increases in share price, principally at dotDigital Group (up 15.8%), Huntsworth (up 13%) and Zinc Media (up 20%). Several other companies recorded single figure improvements.
At dotDigital, the price improvement followed a 22% rise in profits in 2016 and improved operating margins (see dotDigital creates more profit and more cash). Huntsworth’s price was probably boosted by the company’s announcement that it expects to report an underlying profit before tax for 2016 that is slightly ahead of its comparable performance in 2015, despite the prospect that the post-tax result is unlikely to exceed breakeven after taking into account abnormal items, amortisation and finance costs (see Huntsworth unlikely to have exceeded break-even in 2016). At Zinc Media Group the hope must be that the next set of results will show some sort of recovery in the six months to 31 December.
Around one half of the publicly listed marketing companies experienced a decline in share price in the month, the biggest fall being 19.8% at Reach4Entertainment Group. After responding positively to the board changes announced in January, the stock market’s initial enthusiasm seems to have waned considerably (see Board bolstered at Reach4Entertainment). Shares in St Ives also declined after it announced another big loss (see St Ives loses £28m in half year after another big SP write-down).
Even WPP saw its shares lose 9.3% of their value in the month, possibly influenced by the fall in value of its investment in comScore (see WPP delays decision on valuing its comScore shareholding) and the company’s cautious trading outlook despite having achieved a 17.6% rise in revenue and 20.7% rise in post-tax profit (some of that as a result of abnormal items).
Shares in Be Heard Group, Ebiquity, Matomy Media Group, Next Fifteen Communications Group, M&C Saatchi and Jaywing also lost ground.