Market Report: Bellway surges as demand for homes keeps climbing

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Stockpickers who tipped the housebuilders to cement their positions at the top of the table must be feeling rather smug after a volatile year for shares.

New homes have been popping up all over the country to cope with high demand — a trend that has translated across to the stock market, where the housebuilders have been the big winners.

FTSE 250 firm Bellway is no exception, having surged 37% this year.

It climbed 92p or 3.6% today to 2661p as it revealed its plans to increase by 10% the number of new homes built by the end of next July, with selling prices expected to be around 10% higher again.

The company confirmed that the reservation rate rose 12% to 165 homes a week over the past 18 weeks and anticipates that operating margins will rise to at least 21% by next July.

It was a similar story for MJ Gleeson, which specialises in building homes in the north of England.

It improved 14p to 549p, with the Help to Buy scheme boosting sales so much that it lifted its annual guidance.

With Christmas party season in full flow and many feeling a bit worse for wear from booze-ups last night, investors were in no mood to light up the trading screens — not that there was much to set pulses racing.

The FTSE 100 drifted down 36.82 points to 6051.23, making it seven days in the red and no sign of the festive spirit which usually drives the fabled Santa Rally at the end of the year.


Taking a break: There’s been no sign of the traditional ‘Santa Rally’ (Picture: Reuters)

Shares in Anglo-African financial services group Old Mutual were still in a tailspin over the turmoil in South Africa, tanking 14.4p or 8% to 159.85p. An already difficult environment was made worse yesterday when president Zuma ousted his respected finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, piling pressure on the rand.

Investec, which like Old Mutual is listed in both London and Johannesburg, fell 29.9p to 440p and packaging group Mondi, which has operations in South Africa, retreated 30p to 1286p.

The sell-off at Apple supplier Imagination Technologies ramped up as it dropped 9.75p to 175.25p, and International Personal Finance slumped 79.6p or 25% to 243.6p as the loan provider admitted it faces a material hit in Slovakia, which is outlawing the use of cash when delivering credit. 


Plus500 is Atletico Madrid’s shirt sponsor (Picture: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

CFD trading firm Plus500, the shirt sponsor of Spanish football club Atletico Madrid, rose 18.5p or 4.5% to 432.5p as it said it will resume taking on new customers in January — just days after broker Numis suspended coverage, citing a string of concerns including regulatory risk.  

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December 11, 2015 |
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