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Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.


Homebuilder Bellway [LON:BWY] has published a trading update, highlighting that all 230 of its sites are now back online, although the pace of work appears to have slowed given the focus on completing those properties which are in the latter stages of production. The company notes that work rates are expected to increase in the coming weeks. Interestingly – and with what seems set to be an ever more popular theme in company reports, Bellway adds that despite being eligible for the government job retention scheme, it has paid all furloughed staff itself and whilst qualified for the Bank of England’s CCFF, it hasn’t yet drawn down on the facility. Making those moral calls to refuse taxpayer-funded handouts is probably worth shining a spotlight on. Government support for the house building sector over the last decade has appeared incredibly generous. This calculated decision is worth applauding.

Big Yellow

Full year numbers from Big Yellow [LON:BYG] storage are out today, covering the period to March 31st. Revenues are up for the year around 3% with investors set to be rewarded with a modest 1.8% uptick in dividends. Obviously attention is more focused on how businesses are performing post-lockdown so the line that 96.7% of April and May revenues have been collected, compared to 97.3% at the same time a year ago is helpful and may well be sufficient to provide some reassurance. The company notes that it hasn’t had to furlough any employees or make use of the government loan schemes.

British American Tobacco

Half year numbers from British American Tobacco [LON:BATS] are out this morning, with the company noting that although COVID-19 lockdowns have had something of an impact on sales, headwinds here are only expected to account for a drop of sales worth somewhere in the region of 3%, thereby leaving the company on target to still deliver net sales growth on a constant currency basis for the full year. The numbers are such that the company can continue with its stated policy of returning 65% of adjusted diluted EPS to shareholders without any risk of impacting its liquidity position.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Tony Cross

Tony Cross

Tony Cross is a market commentator with over 15 years of experience, producing compelling, insightful copy for journalists and investors alike. Focusing on macroeconomics, UK blue chip equities and inter market analysis, Cross's commentary is well regarded for its clarity and ability to cut through the waffle. He has been quoted in publications as diverse as The Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian and The Sun. He has also been a regular guest on both Share Radio and TipTV.

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