Updates from Persimmon, GKN and Croda International

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Croda, Persimmon, GKN
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, Croda, Persimmon, GKN



Monday saw shares in the FTSE 100 dip just three points to 6,912.1. G4S shares climbed 3.2% to 293.2p while easyJet shares rose 2.6% to 1798p. Banks bore the biggest dips with Standard Chartered slumping 4.6% to 928p and HSBC down 4.6% to 577.20p; this wiped more than £5bn off HSBC's value as more tax and regulatory investigations loom.

In the US the Dow Jones gave away just 23 points to 18,116.8 with energy stocks losing momentum on more oil price pressure; additionally there was data disappointment from new home sales.

Let's commence with new full-year numbers from housebuilder Persimmon. Underlying profit before tax soars 44% to £475m (2013: £330m) while full year revenues climb 23% to £2.6bn (2013: £2.1bn).

Legal completions are up 17% to 13,509 (2013: 11,528) while Persimmon's average selling price rises 5.3% to £190,533 (2013: £180,941). Forward sales rise to £1.49bn (2013: £1.42bn), a 5% fillip.

"We have had an encouraging start to 2015," says Group Chairman Nicholas Wrigley, "and experienced a solid opening period to the spring season with current total forward sales of £1,490m, 5% ahead of the previous year."

We move onto GKN Aerospace. Full year numbers sees profit before tax come in at £221 million (2013: £484 million) "due to the £232 million movement on the mark to market valuation of forward foreign exchange contracts".

The total dividend rises 6% to 8.4p per share. RBC Capital recently reiterated the Underperform rating on the stock while JPMorgan Chase swung positive, restating their Overweight verdict.

"We have continued to outperform our key markets," says boss Nigel Stein, "and report good underlying financial results in spite of sterling's strength and some end market weakness, particularly in Land Systems."

Finally, personal care and industrial chemicals player Croda. Group sales improve 2.9% to £1,046.6m for the full year but adjusted profit before tax slips 1.7% to £235.4m.

By some margin the Life Sciences are the most profitable wing, up 15% to £64.7m. Personal Care was impacted by a challenging first half says Croda, improving in the second half though.

"Although," says chairman Martin Flower, "we expect demand in Europe to remain subdued, we continue to target profitable sales growth for the Group." The Croda dividend is upped 1.6% 65.5p.

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