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MARKET REPORT: Cancelled surgeries bring pain to Smith & Nephew

MARKET REPORT: Artificial hip and knee-maker Smith & Nephew feels the pain as hospitals cancel surgeries to focus on Covid

Smith & Nephew shares tumbled after the hip and knee replacement-maker admitted business was unlikely to recover substantially until the summer.

The widespread cancellation of elective surgeries across the world as hospitals focused on treating Covid-19 patients hammered the FTSE 100-listed group’s turnover last year.

The worst few months were undoubtedly over spring, when many countries were in their strictest lockdown phases.

The widespread cancellation of elective surgeries across the world as hospitals focused on treating Covid-19 patients hammered Smith & Nephew’s turnover last year

The widespread cancellation of elective surgeries across the world as hospitals focused on treating Covid-19 patients hammered Smith & Nephew’s turnover last year

Smith & Nephew’s total revenues fell 11 per cent in 2020 to £3.3billion – in line with the guidance it gave at its most recent update – while profits were 67 per cent lower at £176million.

The City was prepared for numbers like these.

But what appeared to hit home yesterday was the warning that lockdowns prompted by the second wave could cause further pain for months to come.

Given these restrictions, it said there would be ramifications on its finances for the first half of this year – which would take it to the end of June – even though the new lockdowns have not been as disruptive as the first ones.

Stock Watch – Angle 

Angle received a boost from research published in a peer-reviewed journal that affirmed the ability of a blood test it has developed to identify hard-to-detect cancer cells.

One of the major benefits of the group’s Parsortix system is that as a blood test rather than a biopsy, it can be performed again and again to track how a cancer is changing.

The analysis was published in the journal Cancers by the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf. Shares, however, fell 2.3 per cent, or 2p, to 86.5p.

Chief executive Roland Diggelmann said: ‘The only question we don’t have an answer for is when exactly the recovery will be because that depends on the vaccines, the further spread of Covid-19, decisions taken by healthcare authorities, by governments, the different mutations of the virus.’

Smith & Nephew was one of the biggest fallers in the blue-chip index, with shares falling 5.9 per cent, or 92.5p, to 1475p after warning it is still not out of the woods.

A number of other companies repeated the same central story that the pandemic had resulted in a major hit to profits. Investors’ reactions, however, were mixed.

Recruiter Hays was another laggard – falling 3 per cent, or 4.7p, to 153.3p – despite promising that it would pay a £150million special dividend to investors and resume normal scheduled payouts at its full-year results in August.

In the first half of its financial year profits sank 78 per cent to £21million and its net fees were 24 per cent lower.

But the company said it had been bolstered by lots of hiring in the technology sector. Things also appear to be looking up, as recruitment levels were back at pre-Christmas levels by early February.

Precious metals miner Hochschild Mining was also in the red, falling 2.9 per cent, or 6.4p, to 213.2p.

Although gold and silver prices surged during the market turmoil in 2020, Covid disruption hit production.

Turnover slumped by almost a fifth and profits fell 17 per cent to £62million.

Moneysupermarket’s shares, on the other hand, surged despite falling demand for travel insurance denting earnings by 24 per cent last year. Sales at the price comparison site fell as fewer people took out new home, life insurance and car deals.

But traders piled in anyway, sending the firm’s shares up 7.1 per cent, or 19p, to 287p.

Opioid addiction treatment maker Indivior broke the mould – falling into a £124million loss after settling outstanding legal cases with the US Department of Justice and former parent company Reckitt Benckiser (down 0.1 per cent, or 6p, to 6278p) following a long-standing controversy surrounding one of its flagship drugs.

Indivior’s 6.5 per cent, or 9.7p, drop to 139.3p weighed on the FTSE 250 index, which finished the session down 1 per cent, or 215.62 points, at 20933.87. 

The FTSE 100 fell 1.4 per cent, or 93.75 points, to 6617.15 as big energy groups lost ground even as oil prices hit fresh 13-month highs. Brent crude was trading at nearly $65 a barrel last night.

But this failed to rouse shares in Shell (down 2.5 per cent, or 33.58p, to 1331.2p) and BP (down 2.7 per cent, or 7.41p, to 269.4p).


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bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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