Good morning!

Apologies, but I got distracted & was very tired yesterday afternoon (haven't been sleeping well lately), so I didn't get round to updating yesterday's article any further until early this morning. I've added new sections on dotDigital (LON:DOTD) and Utilitywise (LON:UTW) to yesterday's report, which is here.

It's quite difficult to clear the decks and write about companies here, because I've just got so much else going on during the day, constant distractions. Hence why it's sometimes easier to finish off articles in the evening, or early morning. Also, during market hours, It's terribly easy to drift into "ticker-watching" - where I end up just monitoring prices, and not actually doing anything constructive. Although having said that, ticker-watching can throw up opportunities, when you sometimes spot unusual price movements, and a jump in trade volumes - which can be turning points, or signs of someone stake-building, etc.

Right, on to the trading updates & results today which have caught my eye.


Hotel Chocolat (LON:HOTC)

Share price: 266p (up 4.2% today)
No. shares: 112.8m
Market cap: £300.0m

Interim results - for the 26 weeks ended 25 Dec 2016.

Seasonality - a key point to note with this company is that its profits are pretty much all generated in H1. This is important because, when skimming through the results at 07:30 this morning, I looked at EPS for the half year (of 7.8p), doubled it to annualise it, then thought hang on that doesn't look right, as it implied a PER of only about 16. Either the company has massively out-performed forecasts, or I've overlooked a large seasonal variance between H1 and H2!

It was the latter of course - I then checked back to last year's adjusted profit of £8.2m for the full year, and it looks as if more than the whole lot (£8.8m) was generated in H1. So H2 looks to be slightly loss-making.

Aside from forgetting about seasonality between H1 & H2, the other clanger I'm sure we've all dropped before, is forgetting that you're looking at half year figures altogether, and wrongly doing your sums based on them being full year numbers!

These pitfalls reinforce the importance of at least one strong cup of coffee before work starts at 7am.

Anyway, back to the figures, and the highlights look…

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