Lloyds Bank LLOY admits to having “positive operating jaws” which helped it to produce a strong first quarter financial performance and a significant improvement in statutory profit before tax, despite disagreeing with the house builders (see below) about the state of the UK economy, which the bank says still presents a challenging operating environment. As for those jaws, I never thought I would see the day when a bank would agree so openly that the widely held view about a banks resemblance to a certain type of large and very dangerous fish, appears to be correct !
Persimmon PSN claims that its continuing operational performance is excellent, helped by the resilience of the UK economy. does this mean that at long last challenging market conditions have disappeared. Forward sales revenue has risen by 11% on a year ago, whilst private sales rater per site are 12% ahead. The average selling price has, so far, been increased by 4.1%.
Taylor Wimpey TW is hopeful that the forthcoming general election will not disrupt the housing market after a good start has been made to the year. Average private net reservations so far this year, are up 16% on a year ago. The total order book has risen by 31% since the year end, whilst total order book value is up by 2% on a year ago. Build cost inflation for 2017 is expected to be between 3-4%.
WPP plc WPP First quarter revenue net sales and operating profit are all well above budget and well ahead of last year – at least until you strip out the helping hands provided by acquisitions and the weakness of sterling. On a like for like basis the picture looks far less impressive, with revenue rising by 0.2% and net sales by 0.8%. WPP regards net sales as the true test of its success or otherwise. In this respect North America was under pressure but the UK and continental Western Europe both grew strongly.
Weir Group WEIR is on track for a strong recovery in 2017, with first quarter order input up by 15%, oil and gas orders up by 50% and continued strong cash generation.