Updates from easyJet and Bellway

An almost 18-point drop for the FTSE 100 on Wednesday, ending at 6,818.6. National Grid slumped 5.36% to 830p while ad player WPP lost 2.10% to 1261p. Another hit for Sainsbury's, down 1.86% to 327.60p.

Meanwhile Sports Direct International soared 3.63% to 799p. Stateside, the Dow Jones ended 15 points higher at 16,737. Meanwhile there's some expectation on an ECB rate cut this morning. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
First, an interim from house builder Bellway for the period 1 Feb to 31 May. The house builder claims robust sales performance with an 11% increase in the weekly reservation rate to 177 per week during the period (2013 - 160 per week).

The value of forward orders for homes due for completion beyond 31 July 2014 is significantly ahead at £670 million (31 May 2013 - £380 million). £400 million has been expended on land and land creditors since 1 August (2013 - £270 million).

"Land," says chief exec Ted Ayres, "with detailed planning permission is already in place to achieve next year's volume growth aspirations." This means Bellway is positioned to deliver further shareholder gains, Ayres claims.

Next, preliminary numbers from Johnson Matthey for the year up to 31 March. Revenue climbs 4% to £11.2 billion while profit before tax and earnings per share increased by 17% and 27%.

Underlying profit before tax and underlying earnings per share rise 12% and 16% respectively. A final dividend of 45.5 pence is recommended resulting in pushing the full year dividend 10% higher to 62.5 pence.

"In 2014/15 growth across the company," says chief exec Neil Carson, "will be offset by the adverse impact of the loss of commission revenue from Anglo Platinum and by the effect of foreign currency translation, if today's exchange rates prevail."

Finally, easyJet numbers for May. Passengers numbers climbed to 6,054,249 from 5,609,351 in April, an increase of 7.9%. The load factor increased by 1.3pp from 88.1% to 89.4%.

On a rolling 12-month basis the numbers climb from 60,048,534 to 62,809,843, a 4.6% climb while the load factor rises by 0.7pp from 89.2% to 89.9%.

easyJet would consider an operation at Heathrow were the airport given the green light to build a third runway, easyJet chief exec Carolyn McCal said recently.

Johnson Matthey

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