The Week In Review: Bellway is a good building block for investors
Saturday 22 October 2005
The things a builder has to do to sell a house these days: cash discounts, part- exchange, throwing in fixtures and fittings, and even, according to Bellway, new carpets and curtains, too.
But, while Bellway warns investors not to expect a repeat of the level of growth reported in its latest annual results, the future looks safe as houses for the industry, and for Bellway in particular. The average price of a Bellway home is just £164,000 and half are sold for less than £150,000. Its operations are split 50-50 between north and south.
Above all, there is a housing shortage in the UK. This is the incontrovertible fact that should help investors in the building sector sleep.
It also means that the sector is grossly undervalued. Bellway, in particular, trades at barely six times annual earnings. With such solid foundations, buy.
Wise readers who took our advice to buy Sage, the FTSE 100 software group, a year ago when the shares were 172p are looking clever. The investment has grown a healthy 27 per cent and there is more to come, thanks to Sage's strong cash balances. Buy.
ST JAMES'S PLACE
Britain's worsening pensions crisis is a blessing for St James's Place Capital, the upmarket wealth management group. It can look with confidence to the future as pensions business is surging ahead of government reforms next year. Hold.
WHITTARD OF CHELSEA
Whittard of Chelsea, the tea and coffee retailer, brewed up excitement in July this year when it revealed that it was at the centre of a bid battle. Then London was bombed and the collapse in sales scared its bidders away. The group has not had a good year, with two profits warnings since January. Sell.
While wind power is now a growing part of the renewable energy mix, wave power is so far untapped. AIM-listed Ocean Power Technologies is trying to commercialise this energy and is making good progress. Buy.
Consumer debt levels remain at an all-time high - one way for investors to benefit is to back the new debt advice companies that specialise in 'individual voluntary arrangements'. Accuma floated in March, having raised £4.1m to fund marketing. Buy.
Simon Brickles, who led the successful Alternative Investment Market until 2003, has been drafted in to work the same magic at Ofex, another junior market. Now renamed Plus Markets, the shares exchange is going places again. Buy.
Oxford BioMedica is conducting trials of what could be revolutionary treatments for cancer. Its latest results for TroVax, OXB's most advanced drug, are positive, but a bigger trial is needed. It seems increasingly likely that larger commercial partners may want more data or an improved version of the drug before signing. Sell.
QXL Ricardo operates similar auction sites to ebay, and is finally making a profit. However, returns are meagre and a legal dispute in Poland is making life difficult. Take profits.
Colt Telecom specialises in the business market, but while the stock will always be a punt on future M&A activity, most investors should avoid.
The chief executive of BHP Billiton is basking in praise - another record year for sales, for profits and for dividends. The big picture is of emerging economies sucking in more commodities. BHP has cash coming out its ears - share buybacks or higher dividends could follow. Buy.
New man from the Pru is sitting pretty for the future
The former Lloyd's of London chief executive Nick Prettejohn is replacing Mark Wood, who is leaving Prudential after missing the top job when Jonathan Bloomer, the former group chief executive, was ousted earlier this year. The new UK boss is the first senior hire by Mark Tucker, who took over as chief executive in May.
Prettejohn may be pleasantly surprised by the contents of his in-tray - the insurer is in pretty good shape.
In a country in which an ageing population is forced to save more by a Government keen to trim its social security budget, the financial services sector must be a long-term winner, and the Pru's performance is improving.
The Pru is among our portfolio of tips for 2005 and the shares are up 7 per cent since the start of the year. There is more to come. Buy.
The above are recommendations from the daily Investment Column
- 1 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
iJobs Money & Business
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£250 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Finance Manager - Accountant - Bank...
£100000 - £120000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading fi...
Day In a Page
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar