UK services sector growth slows; weaker-than-expected figures are 'warning signals' for economy

Revenues were boosted by a 7pc increase in Redrow’s average selling price, to £309,800. Legal completions, meanwhile, grew 15pc to 5,416.

The strong set of results allowed the company to raise its full-year dividend by 70pc to 17p and upgrade its profit guidance in the medium term. The update sent Redrow shares up more than 5pc in early trading.

Read Sam Dean’s full report here



Eurozone services PMI data hints at weaker-than-expected UK reading

The eurozone’s services PMI figures have dropped a little earlier than our own and if they are anything to go by then we should be expecting a sharper drop-off than initially thought in our own sector’s performance.

Spain, France, Italy and the overall eurozone all underperformed economists’ expectations this morning with only Germany defying the trend. Some analysts have pointed out that some of those falls are from multi-year highs but nonetheless economists thought the sector would hold out better than it has.

Following the disappointing figures on the continent, the pound has nudged up against the euro, trading 0.1pc higher at €1.0879. 

There were no signs of a slowdown over in China, however, with their services sector growth picking up to 52.7 overnight. 


Services PMI preview: Growth in UK’s most important sector expected to soften


The contrasting growth figures in the manufacturing and construction sectors’ latest PMI surveys have cranked up the pressure on the services sector’s own reading due today.

Growth in the sector, the UK’s most important, is expected to weaken slightly to 53.5 from July’s solid 53.8 reading (any figure above 50 indicates growth).

The closely watched survey due at 9.30am will provide investors a few more clues to the health of the UK economy with the construction PMI slipping to a one-year low yesterday and Friday’s manufacturing PMI figure showing the sector continuing to rebound.

CMC Markets’ analyst Michael Hewson believes that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the services sector outperform expectations.

He added on recent UK PMI figures:

“The weak construction number contrasted with last weeks continued improvement in manufacturing and as such makes today’s services PMI number that much more important, given some of the recent softness seen in recent surveys here.  

“In July we saw a nice uptick to 53.8, after a bit of a slowdown in June, and it is expected that we might see some softening in August back to 53.5, though it wouldn’t be a surprise if we did outperform, particularly in areas that support travel, leisure and tourism.”


Agenda: Services sector data dominates investor focus


Welcome to our live markets coverage.

Services PMI data dominates the markets’ focus this morning with the reading holding added importance given the contrasting fortunes of the manufacturing and construction sectors in their own recent PMI readings.

Ahead of the figures the pound has nudged up against the dollar, trading 0.1pc higher at $1.2935.

North Korea’s latest nuclear tests knocked risk appetite yet again yesterday but the increasing regularity of the rogue state’s provocations meant that the pull-back on stocks markets is becoming more mild with each escalation.

While shares retreated into the red once again and the usual safe haven suspects, gold, Japanese yen and Swiss franc, pushed higher, financial markets are numbing to Kim Jong-un’s sabre-rattling with the FTSE 100 only slipping 0.36pc yesterday.

Although mild caution still persists today, stock markets across Europe have clawed back lost ground with the FTSE 100 propelled into positive territory by the housebuilding sector.

Barratt Developments leads the pack on the blue-chip index ahead of its full-year results tomorrow after rival Redrow reported record results and upgraded its guidance.

Interim results: Dalata Hotel Group, IQE, Cairn Homes, Vipera, Alpha Fx Group

Full-year results: Alumasc Group, A J Mucklow Group, Mattioli Woods, Redrow

AGM: 888 Holdings

Trading statement: Mattioli Woods

Economics: BRC Retail Sales Monitor y/y (UK), Services PMI (UK),  Final Services PMI (US), Factory Orders m/m (US), ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI (US), IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism (US), Final Services PMI (EU), Retail Sales m/m (EU), Revised GDP q/q (EU)

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