Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
On The Beach
There’s a full year trading update out from travel agents On The Beach [LON:OTB] this morning, ahead of final results which will be published in early December. Bookings over Q4 – July, August and September – were down by 53% which given the backdrop is arguably not too bad. The company is quietly building a reputation for itself as being very pro-consumer when it comes to making quick refunds for flights, a pattern that was seen during last year’s bankruptcy of Tomas Cook and one that continues today. So far it has refunded customers for £90m worth of flights despite having only received £79m back from airlines. Liquidity also remains sound – the company has £44m of cash, a £75m credit line and a zero revenue cash burn of just £2m a month.
Taylor Wimpey [LON:TW] has published a trading statement this morning, which acknowledges that the rebound in the property market has been somewhat quicker than had been expected following the COVID shut down. Low interest rates and government initiatives continue to buoy the market, and the company expects to see completions in FY 2021 as being up to 90% of the FY 2019 level. The company also has a strong balance sheet, so there seems to be little here to spook investors.
Funeral operator Dignity [LON:DTY] has published a Q3 update, which makes for rather gloomy reading on a number of counts. Sadly, the number of deaths across the UK is up 15% over the first 39 weeks of the year, with Dignity reporting a 4% increase in revenues and an 8% decrease in profits. The company also acknowledges that the sharp increase in mortality in 2020 could see death rates fall in the coming years. With a strategic review ongoing and uncertainty over the outlook, there’s no forward guidance being offered.
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