British house builder Bellway (BWY) says demand for its homes did not slow in the run-up to a 8 June general election, bucking a trend which generally sees some buyers put off purchases ahead of the uncertainty of a vote. The trading update covering the 1 February to 4 June period saw a 13% increase in the reservations to 221 per week. Shares in the house builder increase 3.4% on Wednesday to £29.47.
British American Tobacco (BATS) confirms on Wednesday that it continues to perform ‘very well’ and is trading in line with expectations. The market anticipates a little over £7bn pre-tax profit on £16.5bn sales this year to 31 December 2017. BAT shares remain largely flat at £53.99.
Activist shareholder Elliott Management, in dispute with mining giant BHP Billiton (BLT), has called on the group to ‘upgrade’ its board of directors. BHP is in the process of selecting a new chairman with an announcement widely anticipated later this week. BHP stock barely moves, inching jus 10p higher to £12.10.
SECOND HALF RALLY
Marketing services business, and former printer, St Ives (SIV) confirms a markedly better second half to date after struggling badly in the first six months. It also says it has the cash necessary to push forward with its strategic rethink. That is met with wide support from investors who drive the share price 24% higher in early trade on Wednesday to 46.5p.
European low-cost airline Ryanair (RYA) is in talks with Boeing about placing an order for its proposed new 737 MAX 10 airliner, according to reports on Reuters. Ryanair shares remain flat at €18.30.
Asia-based banking group Standard Chartered (STAN) aims to expand its US presence with a local hiring push and by bolstering its team across the pond, according to reports. It will shift several senior staff to the US from its main regions of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Standard Chartered stock trades largely level at £769.7p.
The European Union plans to give itself powers to move euro clearing business away from London's financial sector to the EU after Brexit, according to reports. This would mean adopting a model closer to that operated by the United States and take billions of pounds of business away from the City of London.
GYM IN GOOD SHAPE
Fitness centre operator Gym Group (GYM:AIM) has confirmed in line trading and on track plans to open half a dozen new gyms by the end of the first half to 30 June. That would take its estate up to 95 outlets. The news is welcomed by investors who bid the share price 4% higher to 202p, valuing the business at £253.5m.
Fancy handbags designer Mulberry (MUL:AIM) saw pre-tax profit jump 21% on an 8% sales rise in the year to 31 March 2017. Decent digital sales growth match the overall figure although investors may be a little concerned by a lower 5% revenue increase across the entire group on a like-for-like basis, dragging on the share price, down 2% to £11.26.
Shares in big data technology supplier WANdisco (WAND:AIM) jump more than 11% to 512.5p as the company seals a new contract with a large US retailer. The three and a half year subscription, to use the company's Fusion platform to avoid online system down time, is worth $2m which will be paid up front.