Updates from Dixons Carphone, Persimmon and Synothomer

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, debt, Tesco Greece
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, debt, Tesco Greece

Some respite for stocks: the FTSE 100 climbed 1.3% or 87 points on Wednesday, ending at 6,608.5, despite Greek debt deal gyrations. RBS was the day's biggest gainer, up 3.2% to 362.70p with MerlinEntertainments and TUIAG posting 3.1% and 3% gains (to 440.60p and 1061p respectively). On the other hand, RandgoldResources dipped 1.6% to 4215p. Another bump for grocer Tesco, down 1.4% to 209.6p despite HSBC re-issuing their Buy verdict on the stock.

Stateside optimism on a possible Greek deal seeped through the Dow, climbing almost 139 points to 17,757.9; better jobs market data also helped things along in the US.

We begin with a bullish halfyear trading update from house builder Persimmon (currently trading close to a five-year high at 2,031p). New home legal completion volumes increased 7% to 6,855 units (2014: 6,408) it claims with total revenues up 12% to £1.34bn (2014: £1.20bn). No

Average selling price for the Group increased 4% to £195,000 (2014: £186,970). Persimmon claims visitor numbers to sites across the UK have been in line with last year and cancellation rates have remained at low level, despite pre-election jitters.

"We have," says Persimmon, "acquired 11,500 new plots of land across the UK during the first half and our consented land bank at 30 June totalled 92,400 plots."

Next, chemicals FTSE 250 player Synthomer. Overall, operating profit in Europe and North America is marginally behind last year in local currency and further behind on a reported basis (H1 2014: £47.8m) due to the weak euro.

As previously anticipated the modest margin benefit Synthomer experienced in Q1 from dipping raw material prices failed to continue in Q2, as modest raw material price inflation returned the company admits.

Europe's currency worries are expected to have a continued impact on performance, "offset by Asia and Rest of World where, despite some softening in market conditions at the end of the first half, we remain confident of a continued strong performance".

Finally, a $32m US move for Dixons Carphone. The retailer says its Connected World Services (CWS) division has an agreement with mobile network operator Sprint Corporation to open and manage a number of Sprint-branded stores in the US.

Dixons Carphone will supply mobile phone retail expertise to Sprint who will open approximately 20 retail stores. If successful, there could be a joint venture to support rollout plans of up to 500. Dixons Carphone will invest up to $32m to obtain a 50% interest.

"We bring," says Dixons Carphone Deputy Group Chief Executive Andy Harrison, "specialist knowledge and skills to this partnership and will be looking to deliver innovation and outstanding customer service under the Sprint brand."

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