What to watch: Taylor Wimpey to smash profit forecasts, Biden stock rally, Sorrell agency grows

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
·4-min read

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Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and around the world.

Bullish Taylor Wimpey helps lift FTSE

Shares in UK housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.L) soared more than 11% on Monday after a bullish trading statement, boosting Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE).

The company said it expected to net operating profits next year “materially above” consensus estimates, assuming the market remains “broadly stable.” It marks the latest sign of Britain’s housing boom, which has so far defied expectations of a slump amid a deepening health and economic crisis.

“The housing market has recovered well since reopening after the second quarter shutdown and, despite the wider uncertainty, underlying demand continues to be resilient, supported by very low interest rates. Customers have benefited from the short term extension to the current phase of the Government's Help to Buy scheme and the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday,” said a trading statement.

It has an order book of 11,530 homes worth £3bn ($3.94bn), some 11% higher in value than a year earlier, excluding its joint ventures.

A builder working for Taylor Wimpey builds a roof on an estate in Aylesbury, Britain, February 7, 2017.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
A builder working for Taylor Wimpey builds a roof on an estate in Aylesbury, Britain, February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Markets welcome Joe Biden victory

Stock markets rallied around the world on Monday, as investors welcomed the prospect of Joe Biden in the White House and the end of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Equity markets posted significant gains last week as US voters went to the polls and ballots were counted, but Monday marks the first trading day since the race was called for the Democrat former vice-president.

Leading European and Asian indices as well as emerging markets leapt on Monday, while Wall Street futures were also pointing to a bounce in the US later in the day.

Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) and France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) jumped 1.6% on the open, while Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) rose 1.8%.

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In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) had closed 2.1% higher overnight at a 29-year high, while China’s SSE Composite Index (000001.SS) rose 1.9%. South Korean stocks rose to their highest level in more than two years, with the KOSPI up 0.5% (^KOSPI).

US stocks looked set for renewed gains after their best week since April reversed the previous week’s losses. S&P 500 (ES=F) were 1.5% higher, Dow Jones futures (YM=F) 1.3% highert and Nasdaq futures NQ=F) up 2%.

While President Trump still appears to be in denial about the loss of the Presidency to the Democrats and Joe Biden and still refusing to concede, markets appear to be unconcerned about the prospect of a contested outcome, and now appear to have moved on to what might happen next,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Sir Martin Sorrell's ad agency S4 Capital sees headcount grow 26% as profit and sales jump

Advertising tycoon Sir Martin Sorrell’s agency S4 Capital (SFOR.L) has reported strong performance so far in 2020 despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with revenue and profit leaping.

Revenue was up almost 53% in the third quarter to £86.4m and gross profit up almost 79% to £75.3m year-on-year. Gross profit improved sequentially each month in the third quarter, up 18% in July, 24% in August and 25% in September.

The number of people in the firm was 2,870 at the end of the third quarter, up 26% like-for-like compared to the same time last year.

The firm said it “continued to hire aggressively around strong gross profit growth and significant new business wins.”

Sorrell launched S4 Capital after leaving the world’s biggest advertising company WPP (WPP), which he founded, following a disputed complaint of personal misconduct.

Norwegian Air snubbed for government support

Norwegian Air (NAS.OL) suffered a huge hit on Monday as the Norwegian government said it will not provide extra financial support.

In a statement, the Ministry of Transportation rejected proposals for cash to support the business, which has been badly affected by widespread COVID-19 lockdowns.

The airline had said in August that it would run out of money in Q1 2021 unless it received a fresh cash injection.

Its shares fell more than 21% in early trade in Oslo.

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