Updates from Sainsbury's, Persimmon and Galliford Try

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Sainsbury's, Galliford Try, Persimmon
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Sainsbury's, Galliford Try, Persimmon

More pressure on the FTSE 100 on Tuesday, down 50 points to 6,366.5. Ashtead Group and ARM Holdings took the biggest sell-offs, down 6.1% and 4.4% (to 1109p and 943.50p respectively). Kingfisher shares also suffered, down 3.4% to 316p.

Sports Direct International rounded off the investor anxiety with a 3% fall to 692p. A rash of miners, including RandgoldResources and Fresnillo, rebounded however.

In the US the Dow Jones took another beating, down 130 points to 17,371.6 as investors fretted about the implications of continuing oil price pressure - US crude oil prices slipped under $49 a barrel, its lowest level since 2009.

The big news this morning is a trading update from Sainsbury's. Total retail sales for the third quarter are down 0.4% (excl fuel), or 2.5% (inc fuel). Like-for-like sales for third quarter slip 1.7% (excl fuel), or 3.9% (inc fuel). Either way, it's the worst Christmas numbers for 10 years.

Sainsbury's describe the remainder of the financial year as "challenging, with food price deflation likely to continue. Our performance in the third quarter showed an improving trend quarter-on-quarter."

On the plus side, Sainsbury's claims a record-breaking week before Christmas with 29.5 million customer transactions. The grocer expects fourth quarter like-for-like sales to be similar to that of the first half of the year.

We move onto house builder Persimmon with a "strong" performance for 2014 - a 17% hike in legal completions to 13,509 new homes (2013: 11,528). The average selling price for the Group in 2014 was £190,500, a 5% hike on 2013 (£180,941).

Full year revenues increased 23% over the prior year to £2.6bn (2013: £2.1bn). The value of forward sales at 31 December 2014 meanwhile is around £973m (2013: £908m), 7% ahead of 2013.

"We remain confident," says Persimmon, "of a further improvement in operating margins for the second half of the year which will underpin significant growth in pre-tax profits and excellent cash generation for the year ended 31 December 2014."

Lastly, construction player Galliford Try says revenues on the construction side are expected to be up on the previous half year period with 1,529 unit completions, 1,404 net of joint venture partners' share (2013: 1,359 and 1,279). Net debt is £40m compared to £85.9m this time last year) despite landbank increases.

Average Linden Homes selling price climb 7% to £310,000 (2013: £291,000). The average selling price for "affordable" sales was £121,000 (2013: £122,000) producing a combined average selling price of £259,000 (2013: £255,000).

"Following the acquisition of Miller Construction in July 2014," says boss Greg Fitzgerald, "our enlarged Construction business is benefiting from an improving market. We remain confident in the delivery of our strategy of strong and disciplined growth across all of our businesses."

Breaking news: easyJet reports a 3.2% rise in passenger numbers to 4.63 million in December

Sainsbury's Executive: 'Reports of Supermarket Death Greatly Exaggerated'
Sainsbury's Executive: 'Reports of Supermarket Death Greatly Exaggerated'

Read more:

Investing for Children

Your Guide to IPOs

CFDs vs Spread Betting