There is a sea of green across European equities this morning. Very strong Q2 results, bullish guidance, and a major share buyback from NVIDIA Corp (NASDAQ:NVDA) have provided a boost to global market sentiment. Technology is the leading sector across Europe this morning following Nvidia’s 6.5% after-hours gain and its near 9% jump in Frankfurt this morning. Semiconductor stocks such as ASML Holding NV (EURONEXT:ASML) and STMicroelectronics NV (EURONEXT:STMPA) are rallying too on the back of Nvidia’s blowout quarter.
The Jackson Hole Economic Symposium kicks off today with central bank watchers looking closely for clues into the future path for interest rates and inflation. Focus will be on Fed chair Jay Powell’s speech on Friday.
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Hays (LSE:HAS) reported full-year operating profit down 9% to £197 million, beating analysts’ expectations for £193.9 million. Net fees grew by 6% year-on-year to £1.29 billion but it warned net fees would decline in the first half of fiscal 2024. Germany was a bright spot with record fees up 19% and operating profit up 29% to £100.2 million, while earnings fell in the UK & Ireland. The recruitment firm has appointed Dirk Hahn as CEO who will take over from Alistair Cox in September. Hahn has been with the firm since 1997.
The white-collar recruitment firm managed to beat earnings expectations thanks to growth in temporary worker demand offsetting weakness in permanent hires, which reflects the increased cautiousness among businesses to take on the additional fixed staffing costs at a time of macroeconomic uncertainty. Hays has also benefited from wage inflation, allowing the business to earnings greater fees, and helping to offset the overall volume weakness in the recruitment market. However, this fiscal year looks set to be more challenging amid weak confidence and softness in the permanent hiring market.
The appointment of internal candidate Hahn as CEO underscores Hays’ commitment to continue to target growth in Germany, something that the incoming chief exec has already been spearheading as MD of Germany and Continental Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Shares in Hays are trading lower reflecting the weaker guidance, landing the stock down over 14% so far this year, underperforming the wider market.
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