Barratt Developments shares' uncertain outlook amid challenging mortgage market

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Barratt Developments shares' uncertain outlook amid challenging mortgage market
Credit: © Reuters.

In the face of a challenging mortgage market, Barratt Developments (LON: BDEV ), the leading housebuilder in Britain, expressed an uncertain trading outlook on Wednesday. The company refrained from releasing an annual profit forecast, instead opting to drive revenue through multi-unit sales in both the private rental and affordable housing sectors. To stimulate sales, Barratt is also offering incentives.

The company's strategy for FY24 is to manage build activity, implement cost control measures, and adopt a selective approach to land acquisition. Barratt anticipates home completions for FY24 to range between 13,250 and 14,250. This includes approximately 650 homes from joint ventures and around 750 for the private rental sector.

This uncertainty in the trading outlook led to a downturn for housebuilders on the FTSE 100 index , which dropped 0.7% to 7,622.85 in Wednesday's afternoon trade. Other affected companies included Taylor Wimpey (LON: TW ) and Berkeley.

The sector's stress was further compounded by an unexpected rise in UK inflation rates. Consumer price inflation remained at 6.7% in September, surpassing the projected 6.6%. This development carries significant implications for the Bank of England's November meeting, especially after it decided to pause interest rate hikes in September.

While some companies faced setbacks, others saw their stocks rally on Wednesday. These included Endeavour Mining (EDV), BT Group (LON: BT .A), Fresnillo (LON: FRES ), M&G (MNG), Vodafone Group (LON: VOD ), Reckitt Benckiser (LON: PSN ) Group (LON: RKT ), InterContinental Hotels Group (LON: IHG ), and Haleon (HLN). Conversely, Weir Group (OTC: WEGRY ) (WEIR), Rolls-Royce (OTC: RYCEY ) Holdings (RR.), Mondi (LON: MNDI ), and Anglo American (JO: AGLJ ) (AAL) recorded a drop in their stocks.

In other news, Whitbread (LON: WTB ) topped the index with a 44% leap in interim adjusted pre-tax profit, dividend enhancement, and a £300m share buyback initiative. However, IAG (LON: ICAG )'s shares fell after United Airlines projected weaker Q4 earnings due to inflated costs. AstraZeneca (NASDAQ: AZN )'s stock also suffered following a data leak that suggested its new lung and breast cancer medicine was less effective on lung cancer than initially indicated. Finally, HSBC downgraded St James's Place shares to 'hold'.

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