Thursday preview: Oxford University, Vistry Group in focus

updated: 15 July 2020 at 3:39pm Author: Alexander Bueso

(Sharecast News) - Investors will be holding on the edge of their seats throughout Thursday ahead of the possible release of preliminary trial data into Oxford University's Covid-19 vaccine candidate in the The Lancet.
Against that backdrop, at 0930 BST the Office for National Statistics will release labour market data for May and June, with the latter hopefully pointing to a slower pace of jobs destruction.

The ILO rate of unemployment is seen rising from 3.9% in April to 4.2% for May, although that would remain significantly below the levels seen in many other industrialised countries.

Jobless claims meanwhile are expected to have eased from May's pace of 528,900 to 250,000 for last month.

And a barrage of closely-followed eocnomic data are due out overnight in China, including readings on GDP, retail sales, fixed asset investment and industrial production.

They will be followed in the afternoon by US data on weekly jobless claims, which are expected to show a further modest improvement, fromm 1.314m to 1.2m.

Also due out at 1330 BST is the Philly Fed's regional manufacturing index for July.

In the background, rate-setters at the European Central Bank and Bank of Korea are both due to announce policy decisions.

Homebuilder Vistry Group is among the corporates that are due to update shareholders on Thursday.

UBS's Anastasia Solonitsyna estimates that it will report a 50% year-on-year drop in housing completions to 1,376 units with average selling prices down 2% to £264,000 on the back of mix changes.

Combined, the two were expected to result in group revenues, excluding joint ventures, of £553m and operating profits of £43m.

The company's homebuilding arm was expected to have fared a tad worse than the Partnerships segment in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sales in the former were pegged at £363m, down 52% from a year ago, alongside a decline in operating margins from 16.3% to 9.8%.

In Partnerships meanwhile, revenues were seen down 43% to £170m.

Thus, overall pre-tax profits were seen more than havling from £72m one year ago to £38m.

But according to Solonitsyna: "The key will be commentary on the latest trading conditions, including the pace of recovery in sales rates and any green shoots from leading indicators (i.e. traffic, reservations and cancellations rates)."

Overseas, the spotlight will be on video streaming giant Netflix, for whom the novel coronavirus pandemic has proven a windfall as demand for online entertainment swelled.

Yet as Michael Hewson at CMC Markets UK points out, the firm may face headwinds once lockdowns are lifted, on top of concerns around its content pipeline which had been suspended, ironically due to those same restrictions.

Having said that, Hewson belives that: "this shouldn't be a problem in the short term, as a lot of newly released shows were put into the can a while ago, and this issue isn't unique to them."

Analysts were expecting second quarter new subscriber numbers to jump by 7m for a total of 190m "with these numbers expected to act as a bellwether for the wider streaming market".

Thursday 16 July


K3 Business Technology Group


Character Group, Oxford Technology 4 Venture Capital Trust, Triple Point VCT 2011 Venture, Unicorn AIM VCT


Total SA


Ediston Property Investment Company, Supermarket Income Reit, TwentyFour Select Monthly Income Fund Limited


Balance of Trade (EU) (10:00)

Business Inventories (US) (15:00)

Continuing Claims (US) (13:30)

ECB Interest Rate (EU) (12:45)

Initial Jobless Claims (US) (13:30)

Retail Sales (US) (13:30)


Invinity Energy Systems


Biffa, Blackstone/GSO Loan Financing Limited, BT Group, Electrocomponents, Evgen Pharma, Foresight Solar Fund Limited, Marshall Motor Holdings, Oracle Power , Renewi , Tiziana Life Sciences, TP Group, Trackwise Designs


Hays, SSE


Claimant Count Rate (07:00)

Unemployment Rate (07:00)


Air China Ltd., Charles Stanley Group


Anpario, Castings, Gabelli Value Plus Trust , Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings, MS International, Steppe Cement Ltd, Tatton Asset Management , Volex