Updates from Bellway, Easyjet and Ultra Electronics

Markets (mostly) held onto optimism yesterday with the FTSE 100 gaining 1.18%, finishing at 5,447 points. RBS was the largest riser, climbing 5.25% while Randgold Resources was the biggest loser, down -5.60%.

But Asian stocks overnight lost ground with the Nikkei tumbling almost -2%. Easing hopes are on the wane while Eurozone worry revives.
We begin Friday with an interim from house builder Bellway - and an encouraging Spring. Demand appears resilient with visitor levels and reservation rates continuing to outperform expectations, the company claims. The target set at the beginning of the financial year - achieving 5% volume growth - is now secure, it says.

During the seventeen week period, reservations averaged 122 per week, an increase of 9% on the year before. "The increase in the private weekly sales rate is more marked at 19%, having been attained from an average of 210 sites, compared to 195 last year."

Bellway's Board is confident legal completions for the year ending 31 July 2012 should exceed those achieved last year by 300 units or so. "In addition, some 1,600 reservations have been taken for completion in 2012/13."

Next, Easyjet. May 2012 total passenger earnt seat numbers grew 14.4% to 5.42 million from 4.74 million last year. The company load factor was 88%, a 3.9% bump up compared to 84.1% this time last year.

The company said earned seats include seats that are flown whether or not the passenger turns up and once a flight has departed a no-show customer is generally not entitled to change flights or seek a refund.

However an analyst note published earlier in the week by JP Morgan Cazenove saw David Pitura reiterate his 'underweight' rating on Easyjet; he worries about market earnings growth. Easyjet recently announced regular new flights from Luton to Tel Aviv from November.

Lastly, a contract win for Ultra Electronics. Its Ocean Systems business in Braintree, Massachusetts, has been awarded an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract worth up to $49.2m by the US Navy. Work on the contract is due to be completed in 2017.

Under the contract, Ultra will supply upgraded versions of its submarine transducers that are stocked by the US Navy to support fleet requirements for new and restored units. The hull-mounted transducers use sonar to detect and localise targets.

"I am really pleased," says Ultra chief exec Rakesh Sharma, "that the excellence of Ultra's specialist sonar equipment has been recognised by the award of this IDIQ contract by the United States Navy. This is an excellent example of Ultra delivering its strategies for growth by winning and expanding its positions on long-term programmes."

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