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

#1. Persimmon sees robust completions and a strong forward order book

Half year numbers are out from Persimmon Homes [LON:PSN] this morning, with the builder noting robust completions and a strong forward order book, too. Average home sales prices are up by around 5%, but operating margins remain at a punchy 27.6%, a number that arguably warrants scrutiny given the ongoing government support for the housebuilding industry. With 7,400 completions and an extra 10,000 sites being added to the landbank during the reporting period whilst mortgage lending remains at record lows, there’s little to suggest this will lose momentum any time soon. Critically, the company’s risk analysis shows no changes having been made from the position 6 months ago.

#2. Balfour Beatty full year earnings expected to be in line with 2019

Balfour Beatty [LON:BBY] also has half year numbers out today, with the infrastructure builder reporting underlying profits of £60m, up from a £14m loss at the same point a year ago. Full year earnings are expected to be in line with those seen in 2019 and having successfully weathered the pandemic, the company is accelerating dividend payments once again. Infrastructure investments by governments globally, along with a growing focus on the environment paves the way for a strong order book for many years to come, a combination which is presumably behind that company’s decision to boost its margin forecast range by 3%.

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#3. Good Energy Group defends hostile takeover bid

Good Energy Group [LON:GOOD] has been very much in focus over the last few weeks as it attempts to defend a hostile takeover bid. The latest instalment here is published today and the story is one worth watching to see just how committed shareholders are to Good Energy’s aspirations. Matters are slightly complicated by the fact that the suitor – Ecotricity – wants to see Good Energy return to its old business model of generating energy from renewable sources itself, but if investors are aligned with Good’s mission, then neither this nor the prospect of a modest cash gain on investments should appeal. Some may see this as a test case for whether listed businesses can be judged by shareholders on more than the financial return alone.

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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