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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (September 01, 2014)

September 1, 2014, Monday, 10:18 GMT | 05:18 EST | 13:48 IST | 16:18 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open flat to slightly lower this morning with investors likely to be in cautious mood as we start the week and new month with the backdrop of the ongoing situation in Ukraine. Overnight we had economic data out of China with the August official manufacturing PMI reading at 51.1 and the final HSBC manufacturing PMI coming in at 50.2, which were both a tad below forecasts and showed a slowing in activity for the month. The economic diary today also sees the release of domestic manufacturing PMI data and it is a bank holiday in the US. Commodity prices are mixed and on the foreign exchanges, the pound is slightly higher against the dollar and euro but all are within narrow trading ranges. It is a quieter start to the week for major corporate news.

Company Announcements

Berkeley Group

IMS/AGM statement today notes that a strong market in the last financial year in which cash due on forward sales rose to over GBP2.2bn left the company well-positioned at the start of this year. Since the start of the current financial year, the market has reverted to normal transaction levels from the high point in 2013, providing a stable operating environment. It notes that demand for the right product in the best locations has remained resilient and forward sales maintained at the levels previously reported. It currently expects to remain ungeared following the dividend payment of 90p a share on 26 September with a further 180p payable in order to meet the first milestone of 434p by September 2015, and is on track to meet this commitment. With regard to the next milestone of 433p in September 2018, it intends to meet a proportion of this via regular dividends, where market conditions permit. It added that with a strong Balance Sheet and land bank it is well positioned, with earnings this year anticipated to be in line with current market expectations.