Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
There’s an ‘update announcement’ from JD Wetherspoon [LON:JDW] this morning, ahead of preliminary results due in early October. The company notes that 844 out of 873 pubs are now open, with only some of those at transport hubs remaining shuttered. Sales for the 44 days to August 16th are down 16.9% year on year although this has been bolstered by government incentives for the sector. The temporary cut in VAT is also seen as helpful and unsurprisingly the company would be keen to see that extended. The note adds that a loss is expected for the full year both before and after exceptional items.
An eye-catching number from Balfour Beatty [LON:BBY] this morning with news that the construction firm has won a 50:50 JV contract worth HK$12.88 billion, so something in excess of £1.2 billion. However, this is for the expansion of Hong Kong Airport’s terminal 2 and with global aviation in disarray, the question has to be whether investors will be quick to applaud this news. Add to that the tense political situation in the former British territory and the impact it threatens to have on the local economy, and questions will perhaps be more focused over the risks associated with such a project.
Half year numbers from Henry Boot [LON:BOOT], the construction and property development firm, are out today too. COVID has taken a big toll on the business, with revenues down more than 40% and pre-tax profits down from £24.1m to £7.2m – although that’s slightly ahead of expectations. In what could be a potentially controversial move given that many other firms have worked to avoid this situation, the company appears to be using the government furlough scheme but has also elected to pay an interim dividend, albeit a reduced one. Redundancies are also set to follow as the company looks to restructure its construction division.
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