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Barratt Developments Alliance News (BDEV)

Alliance News for Barratt Developments (BDEV)

Share Price: 539.00Bid: 567.00Ask: 503.00Change: 4.00 (+0.75%)Riser - Barratt Devel.
Spread: -64.00Spread as %: -11.29%Open: 521.20High: 0.00Low: 0.00Yesterday’s Close: 535.00

LONDON MARKET PRE-OPEN: Barratt, Crest Nicholson Upbeat On UK Housing

Wed, 15th Nov 2017 07:37

LONDON (Alliance News) - Stocks in London are set to open lower on Wednesday ahead of UK jobs and wages data, due at 0930 GMT, with Barratt Developments and Crest Nicholson touting a robust UK housing market in positive updates.

FTSE 100-listed housebuilder Barratt Developments said it has seen a "strong start" to its current financial year ending in June, helped by a positive market backdrop.

It has seen a sales rate of 0.74 in its current financial year to date, in line with the prior year, with total forward sales up 8.4% to GBP2.88 billion from GBP2.65 billion.

"We have started the financial year strongly with a good sales rate, driven by customer demand for new homes, and supported by an attractive lending environment," said Barratt Chief Executive David Thomas in a statement.

"We remain focused on driving operational improvements through the business and we continue to be confident in delivering a good performance in FY18," Thomas said.

Barratt's FTSE 250-listed peer Crest Nicholson also highlighted a "generally robust" housing market, but noted that central London transactions are suffering from some volume and price weaknesses. As of the end of October, Crest Nicholson had total forward sales of GBP391.4 million, 14% ahead of the prior year.

Crest Nicholson said it expects to report 6% to 7% growth in revenue for its full year, with earnings margins consistent with its previous guidance, at the top end of the 18% to 20% range.

Looking to next week's UK government Budget, Crest Nicholson said that "maintaining momentum" is a "major challenge for the industry" as it seeks to increase site numbers and grow its contribution to housing delivery, and said it would "like to see a renewed energy" in the budget and a commitment to "fully implement the 2017 Housing and Planning White Paper".

Back in the FTSE 100, information services firm Experian said it has started its year "well" and is on course to deliver stronger organic revenue growth moving through the year, as it reported a dip in profit for its first half and upped its interim dividend by 4%.

For the half year to end-September Experian reported pretax profit of USD467 million, down from USD500 million, on revenue of USD2.19 billion, up from USD2.09 billion. On a benchmark basis, which excludes discontinued operations and restates prior year comparatives, pretax profit rose to USD541 million from USD518 million.

"Looking ahead, we continue to expect good levels of growth for the year, with organic revenue growth in the mid-single digit range and stable margins as we invest in our operations and growth initiatives. We also continue to expect further progress in Benchmark earnings per share," said Experian Chief Executive Officer Brian Cassin.

Old Mutual's OM Asset Management unit has launched a public offering for 6.0 million of its ordinary shares. Morgan Stanley is acting as sole book runner in the offering. Separately, Old Mutual provided an update on its Old Mutual Wealth business, which it revealed its set to be rebranded as Quilter PLC upon its separation from Old Mutual, and is on track to list in 2018.

Old Mutual Wealth will re-segment into two divisions, 'Advice & Wealth Management' and 'Wealth Platforms'. The businesses will be re-branded within these segments over a period of around two years from its separation from Old Mutual.

Meanwhile, fellow financial services firm Legal & General has agreed to buy Canvas, the exchange traded fund platform of ETF Securities, as well as USD2.7 billion of existing assets across 17 products and partnerships in equity, fixed income and commodities. The platform will be acquired by the company's Legal & General Investment Management business, and the deal is expected to broaden the businesses geographic reach, product capabilities and expertise.

"This is a natural step in our strategy to develop products for a wider audience. The acquisition of Canvas enables us to cater to a growing base of clients across Europe and further grow our market share in both retail and institutional markets. LGIM shares a strong cultural alignment with Canvas and we look forward to working with the team going forward," said Legal & General Chief Executive Mark Zinkula.

HSBC Holdings has agreed to pay around EUR300 million to settle a criminal investigation by the French government into allegations it helped clients evade taxes.

The bank acknowledged past weaknesses in controls at the Swiss private bank unit and said it had enhanced its anti-money laundering and tax compliance procedures. HSBC, Europe's largest lender, was under criminal investigation regarding the private bank's conduct in 2006 and 2007.

"HSBC is pleased to resolve this legacy investigation which relates to conduct that took place many years ago," the FTSE 100 bank said. "HSBC has publicly acknowledged historical control weaknesses at the Swiss Private Bank on a number of occasions and has taken firm steps to address them."

AstraZeneca, and its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, said the US Food & Drug Administration has approved Fasenra for the add-on maintenance treatment of patients with severe asthma aged 12 years and older, and with an eosinophilic phenotype.

Fasenra is not approved for the treatment of other eosinophilic conditions or relief of acute bronchospasm or status asthmaticus.

IG says futures indicate the large-cap index will open 22.52 points lower at 7,391.9 on Wednesday. The FTSE 100 closed down 0.76 point at 7,414.42 on Tuesday.

"Yesterday saw another disappointing session for markets in Europe, despite more evidence of improving economic conditions, particularly in Germany where Q3 GDP came in at 0.8%. This in turn helped push the euro back up to the 1.1800 level for the first time this month," says CMC Markets Chief Market Analyst Michael Hewson.

"US markets also struggled to make gains closing lower, as investors took their cues from disappointing Chinese data which raised concerns of a disappointing end to the year for the world?s second biggest economy, as well as diminishing expectations of progress on US tax reform."

Wall Street ended lower on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending down 0.1%, the S&P 500 down 0.2% and Nasdaq Composite closing 0.3% lower.

In focus for early Wednesday will be UK wages data, after CPI inflation for October came in unchanged at 3.0% on Tuesday, with rising food prices kept in check by fuel prices.

"Whether that remains the case given recent gains in oil prices in recent weeks remains to be seen, but there does appear to be some optimism that we could well be at the high water mark for rising prices, particularly since input prices slipped back quite sharply from 8.1% in September to 4.6% in October," says Hewson.

"If we have indeed seen inflation peak then that would be welcome news, particularly if wage pressures continue to build up from their current 2.1% level. With unemployment at 42 year lows of 4.3%, it surely can only be a matter of time before wage pressure starts to manifest itself further," Hewson says.

Also coming up in the economic calender, there is French inflation at 0745 GMT, and US retail sales and inflation figures at 1330 GMT.

Sterling was quoted at USD1.3150 early Wednesday, firm against USD1.3127 at the London equities close on Tuesday.

In Asia on Wednesday, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index closed down 1.6%. In China, the Shanghai Composite closed down 0.8%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is down 0.9%.

Japan's gross domestic product advanced a seasonally adjusted 0.3% on quarter in the third quarter of 2017, the Cabinet Office said in Wednesday's preliminary reading.

That was shy of expectations for a gain of 0.4% and down from 0.6% in the second quarter. On an annualized basis, GDP gained 1.4% - again missing expectations for 1.5% and down from the upwardly revised 2.6% increase in the three months prior (originally 2.5%).

Nominal GDP gained 0.6% on quarter - in line with expectations and unchanged from the previous quarter. The GDP deflator gained 0.1% on year, matching forecasts following the 0.4% decline in the second quarter.

By Hana Stewart-Smith;; @HanaSSAllNews

Copyright 2017 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Alliance News

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