Market Report: Ryanair hits new highs as cheap flights and charm draw in passengers

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Sky-high passenger numbers propelled Ryanair shares to new peaks.

The Irish no-frills airline revealed the crucial load factor — how full its planes are — jumped a staggering 5% in October to 94%. Further still, passenger numbers rose 15% to 9.68 million.

The company put the strong performance down to cheaper tickets and its charm offensive, which is aimed at extinguishing Ryanair’s old reputation of milking its customers.

It has been an especially strong quarter for airlines, underlined by the wave of profit upgrades that have sent stocks into orbit. So high are expectations that even a minor upgrade to guidance on Friday from British Airways owner IAG left investors deflated and shares fell.

But there was no such disappointment with Ryanair’s latest figures and its London-listed shares advanced eight cents to an all-time high of €14.58 (1032p).

A much smaller lift in the load factor gave investors in Wizz Air, down 92p to 1839p, that sinking feeling.

The Hungarian budget airline said its planes were 1.9% fuller last month at 88.2% — a revelation which underwhelmed the City.

At the smaller end of the market, low-cost African airline fastJet, backed by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, slipped 4.25p to 70.25p.

The AIM-quoted company, which has for years struggled to fill up its aircraft, saw the load factor slump 11 percentage points to 63% — a dive it blamed on the Tanzanian elections, which tend to be marred by violence and riots.

More encouraging Chinese services data gave blue-chips a leg-up, with industrial miners topping the FTSE 100, which rose 47.46 points to 6431.07.

SABMiller trickled 1.5p lower to 4008.5p as the Peroni maker was given even more time to iron out the terms of its £71 billion takeover by brewing giant AB InBev.


Mega-dea;: AB InBev wants to takeover rival SABMiller (Picture: Getty Images)

John Colley, Professor of Practice at Warwick Business School, said: “The bid clearly depends on whether AB InBev can sell its Molson Coors stake in the US at an acceptable price in what is effectively a forced sale.”

A 31% rise in third-quarter sales to £8.1 billion lifted Old Mutual 2.4p to 216.8p. Rival Legal & General put on 4.44p at 266.64p as strong cash flow generation raised hopes of a dividend boost.

On the junior market, Gemfields continued to lose its appeal, down 1.75p at 45.5p.

The company, which has actress Mila Kunis as its brand ambassador, revealed that the average grade of rubies mined over the past three months dropped to seven carats per tonne from 41 carats per tonne last year.

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November 4, 2015 |
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