The Week Ahead: Housebuilders' updates reveal little

Is a housing market recovery in the offing? Or does the slump still have some way to go? The answer to questions such as these will set the tone when Persimmon, Redrow, Barratt Developments and Bovis Homes issue trading updates this week. Their fellow housebuilder Taylor Wimpey boosted the optimists last month, talking of "continued stability" in the market in its pre-close update. Recent data on mortgage approvals and last week's house price report from the Nationwide have added to hopes of a recovery, or at least a moderation in the pace of decline.

Yet it may be too early to tell if the sector has indeed a turned a corner. Analysts at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch suspect we will learn little in the way of additional market insight from this week's updates, "for the simple reason that the industry is entering its normal 'quieter' period". "Much more significant will be the end August to mid-September trading period which should provide a clearer indication of how strong prospective buyer interest really is," they said.



Today: Regeneration specialist St Modwen Properties is likely to confirm that the trading environment remains challenging when it posts interim results this morning, according to Numis Securities. Nonetheless, the broker does expect to hear of "tentative signs" of an improvement in residential land sales. "We continue to believe that St Modwen is a unique way to play the recovery in both commercial property and residential markets," Numis said.

Results/Updates: St Modwen Properties.



Tomorrow: Results/Updates: Cape, N Brown, Michael Page International, Quadnetics and Persimmon.



Wednesday: Numis is looking forward to an upbeat statement from Tullow Oil, the oil explorer and producer which posts a trading update mid-week. The group's recent exploration and appraisal successes in Ghana and Uganda are likely to be the focus of the statement, Numis said, sticking to its "hold" stance before the update. Also on Wednesday, Marks and Spencer's annual meeting promises to draw the headlines. Last week's trading statement should help in easing the pressure on executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose, but some institutional shareholders are still calling for his role to be split, and for an independent chairman to be appointed by July 2010.

Results/Updates: 3i and Tullow Oil. Other: Marks and Spencer's annual general meeting.



Thursday: UBS is cautious ahead of Man's first-quarter update, due later this week, warning that assets under management at the London-based hedge fund "could disappoint", owing to institutional net outflows. The broker is more positive on Charlemagne Capital, the independent investment manager which is due to publish a trading update, expecting the figures to be broadly in line with forecasts.

The third-quarter update from Associated British Foods, the owner of Primark, is likely to be largely qualitative in form, according to Citigroup, with little in the way of quantitative information. The update on Primark promises to be positive, the broker added, pointing to recent comments from the company and peers.

"Notwithstanding recent foreign exchange moves, we remain comfortable with our (consensual) 2009 earnings estimates (our analysis points to a second half foreign exchange benefit broadly comparable to that in the first half)," the broker said. "Earnings risk feels biased to the upside."

Also on Thursday, the recruitment agency Hays is due to publish a trading update. The company's quarterly permanent and temporary placement trends have closely tracked those of its rival Michael Page, according to Collins Stewart, with a lower overall rate of decline owing to its exposure to temporary placement.

Seymour Pierce makes a similar point ahead of the update, saying that while the demand for permanent staff is falling in all areas, "demand for temps is proving more resilient".

"The pace of decline in staffing activity appears to be slowing but we expect it to continue to fall in the second half of the year," Seymour Pierce said, "Hays has a more resilient business than the average because of its high level of temp exposure. When the upturn comes, it will be the temp market that reacts first."

Results/Updates: Computacenter, Hays, Associated British Foods, Charlemagne Capital, Man, Barratt Developments and Redrow.



Friday: Results/Updates: Interserve and Bovis Homes. Other: John Lewis weekly sales figures.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Planning Manager (Training, Learning and Development) - London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glob...

Asset Finance Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - ASSET FINANCE - An outstanding...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Techincal Accountant-Insurance-Bank-£550/day

£475 - £550 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Technical Accountant-Insuran...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment