Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Housebuilder Crest Nicholson [LON:CRST] has published results for the full year today, but in a sector which has been largely robust in recent years, these numbers may prove cause for concern. Sales are down 3%, completions off 4% and the operating profit margin has declined from 16.2% to 12.2%. The company has however delivered a solid improvement in customer service, whilst moves to eliminate surplus cost should lend support to the margins. For now however, forward sales remain under pressure.
There’s a trading update from Irn Bru makers AG Barr [LON:BAG] out this morning, setting pre-tax profits for the year to be at the upper end of market expectations. The company has been deliberately focusing on aligning itself with market demand in a shift away from the 2018 volume led strategy it deployed, so whilst this impacted sales – revenues are around 8.5% lower – it’s evidently been at the benefit of margins. Full results are expected on March 24th.
Half year numbers from the consumer goods group PZ Cussons [LON:PZC] are out today. Often the geographic footprint of this business is sufficient to ensure a degree of protection against market weakness, but the business seems to have be struggling on all fronts over the last six months. Before exceptional items are taken into account. revenues are off 3.1%, adjusted profits are down by almost 11%, although the disposal of the company’s Greek business has helped shore up the adjusted figures.