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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 30 August 2011

Bovis to build on steady progress

Bovis, the housebuilder that is due to publish its interim results today, has bounced back since the darkest days of the recession and is expected to hit its targets. Potentially more interesting, however, is the company’s views on the housing market for 2012, with most analysts remaining gloomy about the outlook for house prices as the mortgage market continues to remain constrained.

Spirit and Punch go head to head

The pub company Spirit was spun out of Punch Taverns a month ago and its first update to the stock market on Thursday as an independent company provides it with an opportunity to explain how it is getting on with converting around 100 leased pubs into managed outlets. Punch is also due to give an update on Thursday, which should make for some interesting comparisons.

Bwin.party still to celebrate deal

Investors have not had much reason to celebrate the merger of Bwin and PartyGaming back in March – the value of the online gaming group has halved since the deal was not completed. The bad news is that the cards aren’t getting any better: analysts expect tomorrow’s market update to reveal lacklustre trading over the first half, which could prompt further share price falls.

Go-Ahead is still on the fast track

Another company updating the market on Thursday is Go-Ahead with its full-year results. In its pre-close update in June, the transport company said it expected to beat expectations for its operating profit for the 12 months. Panmure Gordon’s James Cooke sees profits from its bus operations rising by more than 10 per cent. He expects Go-Ahead’s rail unit to see an even larger jump of 20 per cent.

Warning signs for UK economy

A plunge in the performance of the UK’s all-important services sector has raised the spectre of the country moving towards a double-dip recession. Research published by the CBI today reveal that services companies are becoming progressively more gloomy about the outlook for trading. MORE

Ecclestone faces legal challenge

Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One motor racing tycoon, is facing a new legal threat over the sale of the sport he brokered five years ago. Former investors in the business claim he arranged for it to be sold at belowthe market rate, depriving them of a share of the proceeds. He denies the claims. MORE

Obama hires new economic adviser

President Obama says he wants his new economic adviser to give him guidance based on what’s best for the country, not politics. Mr Obama said Alan Krueger, unveiled yesterday as the new chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, would fill a crucial role on the White House economic team.

Europe’s markets bounce higher

Europe’s stock markets bounced higher yesterday as investors were encouraged by the views expressed on Friday by Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve – even though Mr Bernanke still disappointed some investors by failing to announce a new round of quantitative easing.

Building societies beat the odds

All but four of the UK’s 48 building societies were profitable in the past year despite “highly competitive” conditions, a new report shows. At a time of record-low interest rates and subdued mortgage activity, KPMG’s annual survey of the sector showed 28 societies increased their profits last year.

DLL to open kids’ sports clubs

Health and sports club operator David Lloyd Leisure is to spend £2.5m expanding its chain of sites aimed at children. The company launched the first of its DL Kids clubs in south-west London in January last year, and has since followed the pilot with a second site in Leeds. Two more will be completed this year.

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