The housebuilding sector is once again in focus as Berkeley (BKG) and Redrow (RDW) update on trading. Their mixed fortunes build on the conflicting messages recently coming out of the sector with McCarthy & Stone (MCS) having last week warned on a pullback in trading versus positive messages from other housebuilders.
Berkeley says reservations were down 20% in August year-on-year reflecting lower levels of available product and broader market conditions. However the shares rise 2.4% on news that pricing has remained 'resilient' and cancellations levels have reverted back to the norm after a brief hike following the EU referendum result.
In contrast, Redrow says sales in the 10 weeks since 30 June are up 8% on the same period last year. The company says it has seen 'very little impact' as a result of the Brexit decision. Investors are pleased, sending the shares up 5.5% to 405.3p.
A recovery in bike sales and a boost from customer orders for roof boxes and child car seats helps put a shine on Halfords (HFD), up 2.9% to 382.75p. Group revenue in the 20 weeks to 19 August is up 4.8% including strong service-related sales growth of 13.9%.
Ceres Power (CWR:AIM) is to trial its power systems in UK homes later this year with British Gas as part of a Europe-wide fuel cell pilot, sending its shares up 9.7% to 10.15p. Its system is designed to generate around 80% of a typical UK home's power needs and all its hot water.
US construction equipment group Somero Enterprises (SOM:AIM) rises 2.4% to 169.5p as investors are pleased with a decent set of half year results including a better than expected 32% hike in the dividend. Pre-tax profit increased by 26% in the period to $10.4 million. The shares are now up 23% since we highlighted the stock's potential in Shares at the start of 2016.
Virtual reality content provider EVR Holdings (EVRH:AIM) surges ahead by 36% to 2.17p after striking a partnership deal with Germany's largest mobile communication provider, Telefonica. It will showcase a 'lite' version of its MelodyVR app across 665 O2 stores for a year in Germany.
Everyone's trying to get in on the lithium game, it seems. Ironridge Resources (IRR:AIM) advances 6.7% to 13.88p after buying a lithium prospect in Ghana, saying global demand for the commodity is increasing at an 'unprecedented rate'. Kodal Minerals (KOD:AIM) is also getting in on the game, buying a lithium exploration project in Mali next door to one of its existing prospects. Its shares jump 11.8% to 0.19p.
Mineral sands miner Sierra Rutile (SRX:AIM) falls 9.4% to 31.5p after a probe by the German anti-trust authority into its proposed takeover by Iluka Resources was elevated to Phase 2. The two miners now have five business days to agree how to proceed in respect to the new investigation; failure to agree could enable either party to walk away from the deal.
Marketing communications group Creston (CRE) warns of variability in client spending and budgets as a result of the Brexit vote. However, it says pre-tax profit for the four months to 31 July is 'well ahead' of the same period last year due to operational efficiency and the tailwind of weaker sterling. Its shares nudge 1.5% higher to 104.5p.