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Three Quick Facts: Persimmon, Direct Line and Hilton Foods


Three things you need to know in the financial markets today from investment writer, Tony Cross.

#1. Storm clouds looming for Persimmon Homes?

There’s a trading update out from Persimmon Homes LON:PSN this morning, covering the period of 1st July to 7th November. Rising interest rates and economic uncertainty are impacting consumer behaviour. That’s playing out in rising cancellation rates, lower selling rates and the fact that the applications for the help-to-buy scheme have now been concluded. Expectations are that full year completions will remain as previously forecast, but the outlook for 2023 is somewhat gloomier. Sales rates are tipped to fall and average selling prices are also expected to be squeezed.

#2. Inflation hitting Direct Line claims but medium term target remains good

Direct Line LON:DLG has published a quarterly update today, showing total sales for the first nine months of the year down by 3.5%. The company notes a battle to attract new business but reports strong retention rates, whilst inflation is also taking a toll, especially in the motor claims business. The current-year underwriting performance remains in line with expectations and based on current economic conditions, actions the business has already taken and others in progress, medium-term targets and the outlook for dividend capacity remain unchanged.

#3. Full year operating profit outlook downgraded for Hilton Food Group

Hilton Food Group LON:HFG has served up a trading update today, too. Critically, management are cautioning that full year operating profits will be below expectations, driven by the wider macroeconomic environment and more specific challenges with the UK seafood business. These numbers are set to be published on 12th January but the telegraphing to the market is likely to leave some investors reaching for the sell button.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Make sure you do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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