Updates from Experian, Barratt and JD Wetherspoon
Overnight in Asia the Nikkei 225 slumps -2.56% to 10,806 thanks to a more solid yen while the Hang Seng stutters, down -0..47%.
This morning we commence with information provider Experian. There is total and organic revenue growth of 7% at constant exchange rates for the fourth quarter, claims the company. In UK and Ireland, at constant exchange rates, total revenue growth in UK and Ireland climbed 8% while organic revenue growth was 6%.
For the full year Experian expects organic growth to be "to high single-digit, with organic growth in the second half similar to our third quarter results," says chief exec Don Robert. "We also reiterate our full year expectations of modest margin improvement (at constant currency) and to convert at least 90% of EBIT into operating cash."
Analysts at Jefferies Group stuck a Hold rating on the stock recently while research analysts from Oriel Securities Ltd maintained their Buy rating yesterday.
Next, house builder Barratt, whose shares have soared since 2011. In a trading statement Barratt claims profits have more than doubled in the six months to 31 December. Group operating profit is expected to hit £80m with profit before tax expected to be be £45m - more than double the same period last year.
Barratt's debt of around £332m has significantly reduced from the £542.2m prior year position it says. There has also been significant increase in approvals, Barratt claims, to acquire higher margin land with £453.0m of land acquisitions approved in the period equating to 9,320 plots on 67 sites.
Total average selling price increased by 2.1% in the period to around £185k (2011: £181.2k). "Overall, underlying prices remain broadly stable, albeit with regional variations," the house builder says.
Finally, an update from JD Wetherspoon. For the first eleven weeks of the second quarter (to 13 January 2013), like-for-like sales increased 8% it says. Total sales increased 11.3%. In the year to date (24 weeks to 13 January 2013) like-for-like sales increased 7.6% and total sales increased by 11.2%.
"We currently expect the operating margin for the half year ending 27 January 2013 to be around 8.2%, approximately 1.1% lower than the last financial year, due to slightly higher than expected increases in costs in areas such as tax, utilities, labour and bar and food supplies, combined with increased marketing costs," the pubs player said.
Shares in JD Wetherspoon have climbed by about 24% in the last year. Shares in other pub players have risen recently (Mitchells & Butlers and Marston's).