Updates from Bellway and Serco
Some uplift for the US Dow Jones at the end of Thursday, climbing +0.53% to 15,040. Markets will be watching US non-farm payroll data closely today. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%We kick of with an interim from Bellway for the period 1 February to 31 May. The house builder describes trading as "encouraging" with stronger consumer demand for new homes. There's also been an improvement in access to affordable, higher loan to value mortgages, it claims.
"Reservations since 1 February have averaged 160 per week, a +31% increase compared with the same period last year and there has been an improvement in customer interest since the launch of the government's Help to Buy scheme on 1 April."
As a result, the average selling price of reservations taken since 1 February is £200,300, some +5% ahead compared to the same period last year the company says.
Next, prelim numbers up to 31 March from communications company KCom. Group performance is described as in line with expectations with a "strengthened" competitive position in target markets, plus a hiked dividend.
The full year dividend is upped to 4.4p per share, an increase of +10%, with a promise to grow the dividend at +10% per annum to 2016. The Group claims strides in upping the quality and long term sustainability of the business.
"This is evidenced by the continued strong performance in KC [its East Yorkshire-based communications services arm] and some of the key customer wins during the year," says exec chairman Bill Halbert, "as a result of the strengthening of our competitive position in target markets."
Finally, Serco Group says it has been awarded a new Hong Kong Transport Department for the management and maintenance for the Tsing Sha Control Area. The contract, which is expected to commence in September, has a six-year period with a total estimated value to Serco of £80m.
Serco claims it will be responsible for scheduled works including regular inspection and routine maintenance of bridges, buildings, tunnels, equipment, traffic signals and IT systems.
"This builds," says chief exec Christopher Hyman, "upon our recent significant contract win with the Virginia Department of Transportation in the US, and strengthens our global transport capabilities in preparation for further growth driven by expanding middle classes and mass urbanisation."