Updates from Taylor Wimpey, Big Yellow Group and Greene King

The FTSE 100 ended 20 points higher on Friday, taking it to 6,121.5 points. International Consolidated Airlines Group was the biggest riser, up +5.43%. Tullow Oil was the biggest loser, down -3.18%, after cutting estimates for the next year.

The investor optimism is retained overnight in Asia with the Hang Seng climbing +0.66% to 23,423. Japanese markets were closed.
This morning there's updates from a brace of FTSE 250 players. We commence with builder Taylor Wimpey: it expects to report 2012 full year profits at the upper end of expectations with Group operating profit up over 40%.

Full year Group operating margin will be ahead of that reported for both the first half of 2012 and 2011 full year (H1 2012: 11.1%, FY 2011: 8.8%), says the builder. Two weeks into 2013, consumer sentiment towards the housing market is more positive than seen in recent times it says.

"Average selling prices on private completions," says Taylor Wimpey, "increased by 6% to £197k, against a backdrop of broadly flat house prices in the wider market. This increase has been driven primarily by the enhanced quality of our locations." The order book has an increase of 14% in value to £948m representing 5,966 homes, it claims.

Next, Greene King. In an interim management statement, retail like-for-like (LFL) sales climb +3.7% and food like-for-like sales are up +4.1%; the average EBITDA per pub in Pub Partners is up 4.2% with Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen ahead on last year, says the pub player.

The Christmas trading period appears strong, with claimed record Christmas Day sales of £2.7m, up 6.8%. "During the whole of December, we sold 448,000 Christmas meals, another record for Greene King," claims the company.

But core own-brewed volume in Brewing & Brands was -2.0% after 36 weeks, maintaining its outperformance against the UK ale market down 4.2%, says the company. "We do not expect conditions for the UK consumer to improve in 2013," the company warns.

Finally, storage player Big Yellow Group. The December quarter is seasonally the company's weakest, with this year's customer move-out levels reflecting a strong summer, which included an unusually high influx of students the company says. It has also been hit by VAT on earnings since October.

Like-for-like revenue per available foot was £20.10 for the let quarter, an increase of 3.1% from £19.49 for the quarter ended 31 December 2011. Total store revenue for its 54 wholly-owned stores was £16.8 million for the last quarter.

Despite the introduction of VAT on storage, the company "has absorbed this change." Although early in the New Year, "January has started positively with a return to more normal trading and an encouraging book of reservations."



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