LONDON -- This morning, Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV.L ) -- the company behind the Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes, and Ward Homes homebuilding brands -- was the sixth-most popular purchase by stockbroker TD Direct Investing's individual clients between the market's opening and noon.
How come? The company's stock dropped 6% despite its announcement of a 159% jump in pre‑tax profits in its annual results for the year ending June 30, released this morning.
Clearly, 2.3 billion pounds in revenue and a 25% improvement in operating margins to 8.2% seemed like good news to some investors, who piled in when the market appeared underwhelmed by the scale of the recovery at Barratt and the nonresumption of its dividend.
The good news is that the shares are still down 80% from their prerecession levels, so there's plenty of upside left. That said, on a price-to-earnings ratio of 17, that upside doesn't come cheap.
Also finding favor with the private clients of stockbroker TD Direct Investing this morning were shares in another bombed-out casualty of the recession: Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS.L )
The impetus? A broker recommendation from Liberum Capital will have helped, but the real news was a successful $2 billion loan note issue, coupled with positive noises from Europe in the shape of German approval for the eurozone's new European Stability Mechanism.
Also popular this morning were shares in Vodafone (LSE: VOD.L ) , the eighth-most purchased stock by the private clients of TD Direct Investing. Vodafone shares fell 2% after a broker downgrade from Nomura.
The fall might have been greater but for demand from investors hoping for a boost in data traffic volumes from the launch of Apple's iPhone 5 later today. Irrespective of that boost to the bottom line, a yield of 5.5% and a P/E of 11 aren't to be sniffed at.
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