London’s FTSE 100 ended +0.57% on Tuesday at 7,342.21 while the FTSE 250 climbed +0.44% to 19,816.95. On the other side of the Atlantic Wall Street was down -0.17% at 20,975.78 while the Nasdaq finished off Tuesday at 6.120.59, up 0.29%.
We start this morning with housebuilder Barratt and a trading update for the first quarter to end of March. Total forward sales are at record levels, up 12.7% as of 7 May, to £3,205.7m (8 May 2016: £2,844m) it claims.
Full year profit before tax is expected to be at the top range of analyst estimates claims Barratt. Barratt confirmed it expects to see “upward momentum” on private average selling prices, plus underlying house price inflation.
“Our controlled approach to growth,” says chief exec David Thomas, “means we are on track to deliver 17,350 completions in the year, the highest number of completions in nine years.”
We move onto half-year numbers from contract catering player Compass Group. Half-year underlying revenues are improved 3.6% to £11.6bn with operating profit rising 5.2% to £894m. Compass’ operating margin is also up by 20 basis points.
The interim dividend per share rises 5.75% to 11.2p. North America continues to deliver “excellent growth” and trends in Europe “are improving”.
“Our expectations for 2017 are positive and unchanged, with growth weighted to the second half,” says Compass. “Our pipeline of new contracts is encouraging and our focus on organic growth, efficiencies and cash gives us confidence in achieving another year of delivery.”
Lastly, we tune into ITV which reports a 3% slip on external revenues to £731m though no change to guidance overall. Online, Pay & Interactive revenues were up 12%, driven by 22% growth in online advertising but ITV Family net advertising revenue is down 9%.
ITV claims viewing remains strong both on-screen and online with main channel share up 4%. However with no major football tournament for the summer it anticipates advertising revenue to be clipped 8% for the first half of the year.
"ITV's overall performance and the shape of the UK advertising market are very much as we anticipated,” said ITV chief executive Adam Crozier, “and our guidance for the full year remains unchanged.”