Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Persimmon Homes [LON:PSN] has issued a trading update this morning covering the six month period to June 30th. Obviously this saw the full impact of the COVID-19 shut down, so no real surprise that revenues came in at £1.19bn, down from £1.75bn a year earlier. Completions were also down by a similar proportion, although average selling prices moved up by almost £10,000 to £225,050. The company notes that it hasn’t accepted any government money in relation to the business interruption support that’s currently on offer, although as housebuilders look to extend the help to buy scheme and are set to benefit from a significant reduction in stamp duty, politically taking further money from the exchequer could be damaging. As previously announced, dividend payments have been suspended but despite uncertainty over consumer confidence, the company believes it is structured to cope with cyclical demand and has a strong outlook.
Low cost house builder MJ Gleeson [LON:GLE] has also published a trading update today for the year ending June 30th. Completions are again depressed, down by almost 30%, but reservations over the last four weeks have recovered well and now sit at 80% of pre COVID levels. Build activity is however depressed as safe working protocols are taking a toll. There’s little here about the outlook for the business, but the company sees the early signs of recovery as encouraging.
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Full year numbers are out from Dart Group [LON:DTG] this morning, the company that stands behind the growing Jet2 airline and travel business. The reporting period is until the end of March, so COVID impacted the last two weeks of the year, but the headline numbers remain impressive. Package holiday sales were up by 19% whilst flight only passengers rose by 9%. The shut down of operations did hamper earnings however, with profit before taxation from continuing operations down by 11%. There’s a lack of visibility as to how the company will perform for the remainder of the summer, but winter bookings are described as satisfactory whilst next summer is seen as ‘encouraging’. The company appears to be working on the basis that true package holidays will now have a resurgence in popularity – if they have called this right, it could bode well in the long run.
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