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Market Wrap - Market Open

Rumoured Help to Buy scheme review triggers sell-off in housebuilding sector

04 August 2017 09:07

Housebuilding stocks struggled after broker Liberum warned if the Help to Buy scheme was removed after a rumoured government review, it could impact margins and sales rates across the whole sector.

Barratt Developments (BDEV) led the pack lower with a 5.3% decline to 585p. Peers Taylor Wimpey (TW.) and Persimmon (PSN) fell 4.8% and 5.5% to 185.5p and £24.21, respectively.

The FTSE 100 was flat at 7,472.

Brent crude oil dipped 0.4% to 51.80 per barrel. Gold and copper were stable at $1,286 per ounce and $6,349 per tonne.


Investors were thrilled with Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainment's (MERL) latest results as the stock accelerated 1.9% to 468.8p. The theme park operator said revenue was up 20.8% thanks to the opening of LEGOLAND Japan, a strong Easter trading period and the positive contribution from new accommodation.

In other corporate news, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) reported an operating profit before tax of £1,951m in the first half of 2017, triggering a 3.8% rise in the stock to 266p.

In the airline sector, easyJet (EZJ) carried 8.9% more passengers in July and boosted load factor from 95.8% to 96.8%, although this failed to move the share price at £12.59.

Elsewhere, Pearson (PSON) was up 0.6% to 660p thanks to underlying growth in revenue, operating profit and earnings in the first half of the year.


Over two-fifths of Providence Resource's (PVR) value was wiped off after the company revealed that the Druid prospect was water-bearing. The oil and gas firm said it planned to assess the Dromberg target 1,000 metres underneath Druid.

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