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The FTSE 100 will open at 8am. Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are Audioboom and ITM Power. Read the Monday 16 October Business Live blog below.

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Investors seek out defensive positions

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets, Hargreaves Lansdown:

‘As risk-off sentiment has been spreading, investors have been seeking more defensive positions amid fears of conflict escalating in the Middle East.

‘The FTSE 100 looks set to benefit from higher energy prices with oil and gas prices dipping back but remaining at elevated levels, having jumped sharply over supply concerns.

‘Investors are braced for volatility ahead amid fears that Hezbollah militants could attack Israel over its operations in Gaza as forces ready for invasion. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been on a whistle stop tour of countries around the Middle East, stressing that all leaders want to see the conflict contained, but there is clearly still concern about the risks of contagion.

‘Although gold prices have dipped back a little, they remain a near month-long highs demonstrating the desire for safe haven assets. The Israeli Prime Minister’s vow to demolish Hamas is also helping keep the dollar strong, as investors desert riskier positions.’

Audioboom targets profitability in Q4

Podcast producer Audioboom expects to return to profitability in the fourth quarter after revenues were held back by a weaker advertising market and the loss of a top show earlier this year.

Revenues slumped to $45.8millio in the nine months to the end of September, from $57.1million at the same time last year, leading the group to an earnings loss of $1.7million over the period.

It blamed this on the ‘the loss of the Morbid podcast’ in May 2022 and a ‘weak advertising market’.

However it expects to return to profit in the final quarter though ‘acceleration in recenue and consequently reduced exposure to creator contractual minimum guarantee obligations’.

Stuart Last, CEO of Audioboom, said:

‘Strong operational progress in Q3 2023 will be recognised through a return to year-on-year and strong sequential revenue growth in the final quarter of the year, as well as a return to adjusted EBITDA profit on a quarterly basis.

‘Across 2023 we have made improvements in key areas of our business in order to accelerate our path back to growth. Our milestone of creating 1 billion sellable advertising impressions in October is the result of changes to our inventory creation process, further development of our Showcase marketplace, and the continued growth of the Audioboom Creator Network.

‘This positions us to capture maximum advertiser demand, deliver more than US$19 million of revenue in Q4 2023, and puts us on a path to record annual revenue in 2024.

‘As audiences continue to flock to podcasting – highlighted by the record 126 million plus downloads across our network each month – we are optimising for the current advertising market, while we are also primed and ready to take full advantage of any future macro improvements.’

UK growth prospects improve

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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