Global miner BHP Billiton reports its eagerly-awaited full-year results with activist investor Elliott Advisors’ 5pc stake still hanging over management’s head. The company’s less profitable oil and gas division will be under the spotlight with the Paul Singer-led hedge fund placing spinning out its lagging oil portfolio as a top priority to turn around the company.
With oil prices rebounding less strongly than other commodities, the gap in profitability could be laid bare in the latest results. Rio Tinto’s strong first-half results and boosted dividend payout will be the obvious comparable for investors, with expectations that BHP will also reward shareholders.
All eyes will be on Persimmon to see if the housebuilder has continued the sector’s string of expectation-beating results. Last month’s exceptional trading update in the face of election uncertainty was given a helping hand by the continued strong demand from first-time buyers.
With interest rates low and the Help to Buy scheme supporting a solid chunk of house sales, strong momentum should have been maintained.
Persimmon said that revenue grew by 12pc in the first half of the year to £1.66bn with higher volumes and average selling prices supporting the growth.
“If there is to be a spanner thrown into the works, it will likely come from the group’s comment around current conditions, which are looking slightly more precarious,” commented Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Danny Cox.