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HSBC Worried About China

HSBC (HSBA) has found slowing growth in China is creating a bumpier financial environment and becoming an increasing cause for concern. Reported profit before tax for 2015 rose by 1% (far, far less than Chinas reported growth ) and operating costs rose by a sturdy 5%. At least it had a year free of new scandals and penalties.

Associated British Foods (ABF) has found the recent  weakness of sterling providing a welcome bonus during its first half year to 27th February. In the UK bakery market prices are at their lowest for 8 years, wich is of course a good thing, unless you happen to be in the UK bakery market. Primark sales for the half year are expected to be up by 7% but trading at Christmas was weaker because of unseasonably warm weather across Europe – this of course ensured that shoppers could go out and enjoy their Christmas shopping without having to trudge through ice, snow and sleet or even worse, remain housebound.  .Any excuse is better than none for the busy executive.

Petra Diamonds (PDL) has been badly hit by lower diamond prices to the extent that it allows the dreaded word “impacted” to creep into its interim results. Net profit after tax for the six months to 31st December fell by 85%, revenue was down by 28% and adjusted EBITDA by 43%. Profit margins remained at a healthy 36% and production rose by 2%. The first tender of the second half saw both stable prices and more stable market conditions, which cold provide a ray of hope for the second half.

Bovis Homes (BVS) enjoyed  record profits and revenue as the overheated housing market continued to boom in 2015. Profits for the year to the end of December rose by 20%, revenue by 17% and the full year dividend is increased by 14%. Forward sales at the year end were up by 14% on the previous year. Demand for new homes continues to run ahead of supply, thereby enabling 2015’s average selling price to be hiked by 7%.

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