Updates from Bellway, William Hill and Quindell

Higher taxes hit William Hill half-year profits meanwhile housebuilder Bellway claims its average selling price rises 5% to £224,000

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A small 5.3 point downturn for the FTSE 100 on 'Super Thursday', closing the trading day at 6,747. TUI AG and BP both were down 3% to 1055p and 383.20p while AngloAmerican and Sky also felt pressure, slipping 2.8% and 2.7% to 775.40p and 1100p. Rather better performance though for Inmarsat, surging almost 7% to 956p thanks to encouraging revenues guidance. OldMutual was up 4.8% to 229p on strong profits improvement.

Rather less enthusiasm in the US: the Dow Jones slumped more than 120 points to 17,419.7 - Microsoft shares were down 2% at the closing bell - representing a sixth consecutive session loss. New US jobs data arrives today.

We commence with bricks and mortar and Bellway. The housebuilder claims a record number of homes were sold for the year in a pre-close update with a 13.2% increase in completions to 7,752 (2014 – 6,851); the average selling price improves 5% to around £224,000 (2014 – £213,182).

Bellway's operating margin is expected to increase by around 300 basis points to over 20% (2014 – 17.2%) it claims. It also claims a substantial forward order book of 4,568 homes (2014 – 4,363 homes) with a value of £1,087.9 million (2014 – £924.3 million).

"On 1 August 2015, Bellway opened its seventeenth operating division, located in Kent and this follows in quick succession after the new South West division," the company said.

Next, William Hill. Half year numbers for the 26 weeks to 30 June sees net revenues little changed at £808.1m. Operating profit though is subject to a 12% dent to £155.7m while profit before tax is down rather further to £78.7m, a 35% fall.

Some of the bad news is attributed to gambling duties from the Point of Consumption Tax and Machines Games Duty says Hill. However the bookie says it has benefited from more effective operating cost control. It's also snapping up a 30% stake in US player NeoGames for £16m.

The interim dividend is 4.1p per share, up 2.5%, reflecting the Board's confidence said the company in a statement. "Looking ahead, the Board is confident that the Group remains well positioned to gain share in key markets".

More anxiousness for ambulance chasing operator Quindell. Though its shares had been removed from trading since late June its value plunged more than 30% when it returned to trading yesterday. An accounting re-statement has turned after-tax profits from a £83m gain to a £68m loss.

The company is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office. Previously Quindell's accounting practices came in for some caution. The company claims though it's still committed to a 100p per share dividend.

It's understood, according to the FT, that the Financial Conduct Authority is also looking at Quindell's past statements to investors. KPMG remains its auditor.

Digesting Data From Super Thursday


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