There were more signs that Britain’s construction industry is recovering after Howden Joinery reported a booming start to the year.
The supplier of kitchen and construction products achieved a turnover of £785 million in the first six months of 2021.
Not surprisingly, this was higher than the £465 million it made in the same period last year when lockdowns brought the industry to a standstill.
Construction boom: Howden hit £785m turnover in the first six months of 2021 and said it was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the rest of the year
But it’s also comfortably higher than the £653 million brought in over the same period of 2019.
The FTSE 250 company said it was “cautiously optimistic” about the rest of the year and predicts a profit of £300 million for 2021 – much higher than the £250 million City analysts had expected.
Building materials suppliers have been reporting a rise in sales for some time now, and a survey of the Purchasing Managers Index compiled by IHS Markit found construction activity grew at its fastest pace in June since 1997.
But the frenzy of activity, along with the Brexit disruptions, has led to shortages of some materials such as wood and bricks, pushing prices up.
Stock Watch – Star Phoenix
Star Phoenix Group skyrocketed in value after the oilfield services tiddler said it was pursuing a hydrogen project in Western Australia.
It is partnering with Curtin University in Perth on the project, which will cost £350,000 over two years and is funded by Star Phoenix.
It is one of many companies in the oil and gas industry entering the hydrogen field.
Star Phoenix, which rose 28.6 percent or 0.4 pence to 1.8 pence yesterday, hunted yesterday in a resource-rich area of Western Australia and will have the right to develop the deposits if hydrogen is found.
Howden, however, made no mention of this. The stock rose 3.6 percent, or 31p, to 883.2p.
Meanwhile, infrastructure specialist Kier Group lost despite raising its forecasts. The HS2 contractor said it completed its fiscal year to June ‘moderately above expectations’ and made good progress in paying off its debts.
However, some investors still decided to go for the exit, with Kier’s shares falling 2.9 percent or 3.8p to 127p. The FTSE 100 slid into the red as traders anxiously awaited inflation data to be released today.
London’s premier index closed 0.01 percent or 0.7 points lower to 7124.72, while the FTSE 250 gained 0.1 percent or 30.95 points to close at 22,926.81.
Leading the mid-cap index was the review site Trustpilot, which took advantage of brokers at investment bank Berenberg who raised its price target – or the amount they believe its shares are worth – from 385p to 430p.
It comes a day after Trustpilot, which rose 9.8 percent or 34p to 381.4p, reported a 29 percent increase in revenue in its first half and said more companies are signing up for the platform again.
Burberry gained 0.7 percent, or 14p, to 2058p after the former ITV announcement (0.9 percent, or 1.1p, to 124.85p). Dame Carolyn McCall, the fashion house’s boss, will retire from the fashion house’s board next year.
McCall has been a non-executive director at the luxury retailer since 2014, whose chief executive Marco Gobbetti announced he was leaving last month.
Upscale chocolatier Hotel Chocolat climbed 2.9 percent, or 11p, to 385p after it said it plans to create 250 jobs this year after online sales skyrocketed.
The turnover of the website amounted to 15 percent of the turnover in 2019, but has now exceeded 50 percent.
The plans include the expansion of the factory, an additional truffle line and a line for the home hot chocolate machines.
Newspaper and magazine wholesaler Smiths News got a boost from Euro 2020. It rose 6.8 per cent, or 2.9 pence, to 45.4 pence thanks to a £1 million increase in revenue from sticker and album sales back then. major sporting events resumed.
Halfords’ software company, which operates its own garages, vans and stores, has won US tire retailer American Tire Distributors as its first customer.
Shares rose 0.6 percent, or 2.4p, to 377.4p. And Pennon Group supporters brushed aside criticism from the Environment Agency about its South West Water branch.
Officials said it was again one of the worst offenders in the industry to allow raw sewage to flow into rivers and the sea.
It performed “significantly below target” for pollution for the tenth year in a row. But Pennon finished 0.8 percent higher, up 10p, to 1218p.
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