Updates from Vodafone, Taylor Wimpey and CRH

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100 vodafone CRH
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100 vodafone CRH

The FTSE 100 continued its re-ascent yesterday, lifting 44 points to 6,611.2. Embattled Tesco took the biggest lift, rising more than 4.5% to 192.90p helped by an Outperform rating from Wall Street broker Bernstein. TUI Travel also lifted strongly, up 3% to 411.90p while BA owner IAG also surged higher, 2.8% up, to 413p. In contrast, Sainsbury's slipped 2.6% to 254.70p as operational concerns mount.

The Dow Jones, again, rose higher yesterday, climbing almost 40 points to 17,613.7 helped by more company earnings news and more pressure on gold and oil.

We start with FTSE 100 communications heavyweight Vodafone. H1 Group revenues climb 8.9% to £20.8 billion but organic service revenue lips 2.8% to £19.1 billon. Overall Q2 Group organic service revenue is down 1.5%. However pre-tax profits are way down at £406m compared to £1.5bn a year ago.

Full year EBITDA guidance has now been cut to £11.6 billion from £11.9 billion though the interim dividend per share of 3.60 pence is a 2.0% bump.

"There is still much more we will do to build a differentiated service for customers and improve perception," says chief exec Vittorio Colao. "Today in Europe, only 6% of our customers are using 4G. In the next 18 months, we will reach 90% 4G coverage in Europe.

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Vodafone Qatar Agrees To Buy State-Owned Broadband Firm
Vodafone Qatar Agrees To Buy State-Owned Broadband Firm

We move onto FTSE 250 housebuilder TaylorWimpey. Sales rates for the year to date at 0.66 sales per outlet per week are slightly ahead of last year (2013 equivalent period: 0.65 to date). For the second half to date, sales rates of 0.60 are around 5% below 2013.

Cancellation rates of 13% for the year to date remain historically low (2013 equivalent period: 13%) it says; fully sold for its targeted 2014 completions it's now 25% forward sold on its 2015 completions it claims.

"We believe UK house prices are most likely to closely reflect inflation and recovery in the underlying UK economy," the housebuilder says. "This stable but improving environment should be positive for both homebuyers and homebuilders."

Finally, building materials company CRH. It claims third quarter group like-for-like sales growth of 3% with third quarter EBITDA up 6%. It also points to robust operational leverage underpinned by improved margins and returns.

Q3 trading saw "moderating trends" in Europe following favourable early season weather conditions of H1 and continued positive momentum in the US, where overall economic recovery is driving demand.

"We reiterate our expectation," says CRH, "for second-half EBITDA to be somewhat ahead of last year (H2 2013: €1.08 billion), resulting in expected full year EBITDA growth of 10% in 2014 (2013: €1.475 billion)."

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