Updates from Betfair, JD Sports and Berkeley Group
The FTSE 100 held breath on Tuesday, ending the trading day at 6,710.1, down just -0.01%. BAT climbed almost 3% to 3511p while Barratt surged 2.2% to 609.50p. Imperial Tobacco was up 2.2% to 3246p. RandgoldResources was the biggest faller, down 2.7% to 4502p while Ashtead Group was down 2.6% to 1097p on yesterday's numbers.
In the US the Dow Jones saw some recovery on Monday's weakness, up 113 points to 17,904.4 with a rash of new corporate deals in the offing including UnitedHealthGroup and Aetna. Today should see more Fed direction in interest rates.
We start the morning with bookie action: Betfair says revenues climbed 21% to £476.5m on new preliminary numbers; operating profit surged 53% to £94.3m while underlying earnings per share did even better, up 62% to 79.5p.
Q4 revenues climbed 13% to £124.3m and earnings were up 3% to £22.7m. Active customer numbers lifted 52% to 1.7m. The proposed full year dividend is up 70% to 34.0 pence per share.
"We are successfully executing our strategy and achieving profitable scale in sustainable markets," says boss Breon Corcoran. "Our investments are working, the business now operates at pace and our people have a strong will to win."
Next, JD Sports says the group has made a "strong start" in the first 19 weeks of the new financial year. It says it's positive on the growing level of sales in Europe although the weak Euro will impact margins in JD stores outside the UK, it warns.
"Whilst we are now trading against challenging comparatives for the remainder of the year, the Board remains confident that current earnings expectations for the Group for the year ended 31 January 2016 should be met."
JD Sports now includes high street retails such as Milletts and Blacks. However it's trainers, not walking boots, that clearly have the upper sales hand.
We finish with preliminary results from the Berkeley Group. Revenues climb 30.8% to £2,120m with gross profits up 40.9% to £716.8m. Adjusted earnings per share lifts 18.8% to 263.6p.
There's an interim dividend of 90 pence per share payable in September to complete the first milestone payment of 434 pence per share says Berkeley. Cash due over next three years on forward sales is estimated at £2,959m (April 2014: £2,274m).
"By maintaining our financial discipline Berkeley," says chairman Tony Pidgley, "can apply its unique operating model to develop sites which are complex and where others may perceive that the risk is too great, and in doing so, we unlock land for new homes that would not otherwise come forward."
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