STOCKWATCH: Is bad news looming as Luxor circles Reach?

STOCKWATCH: Is bad news looming as hedge fund Luxor circles publishing group Reach?

Read all about it! There has been plenty of news for the media to report during the pandemic.

However, customers inevitably visited newsagents less regularly during lockdown and some businesses cut back their advertising budgets.

Reach, the publisher of the Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers, appears to have been hard hit by that.

Read all about it: Customers cut back on visits to news vendors during lockdown

In July, the last time the company reported on trading, it said it would be forced to cut around 550 jobs – around 12 per cent of its staff – to help it ride out the crisis.

Notably, when it warned of job losses and plunging print sales, the hedge funds began to circle.

That day, New York hedge fund Luxor Capital, run by Christian Leone, started betting against the shares.

Luxor, which did not respond for comment, has since been steadily increasing its short position, which was the first major bet against the shares for over two years.

It now accounts for almost 2 per cent of Reach’s shares and comes just a fortnight before the newspaper group’s half-year results.

Luxor must see more bad news ahead for Reach.

Gleeson will benefit if land prices remain robust 

Tomorrow Gleeson will give an indication of the prospects of an aspect of the housebuilding market that is sometimes overlooked – land buying.

The company has a strategic land arm which snaps up plots of land that are ripe for development – and then flogs them on to other housebuilders.

The division performed poorly last year, selling just two sites in the 12 months to June.

The larger housebuilders had been hoping that the pandemic would at least offer up some land on the cheap.

But no such luck for them so far.

Gleeson will hope for the sake of its struggling division that this continues – and prices remain robust.

Trainline to reveal direction of travel 

It has been four months since rail booking site Trainline last gave an update to the market.

So investors will be eager to hear on Thursday how the company is managing with many people still working from home and not commuting.

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It will also be interesting to learn how the company plans to negotiate the increasingly common changes in lifestyles and travel patterns as many employers offer staff more flexible working arrangements.

Last week, chief executive Clare Gilmartin offloaded shares in the company for £3million.

Investors will hope for evidence this week that her share sale is not a reflection of the business’s direction of travel.

Redrow forecast to announce a loss 

Investors with any shares in the housebuilders will be keeping an eye on Redrow’s annual results on Wednesday.

The company has already reported that revenues slumped 36 per cent to £1.3billion.

Now number-crunchers at investment bank UBS are predicting that Redrow will slip to a pre-tax loss of £15million.

That is in part down to the lockdown which forced builders to down tools, but also because Redrow has chosen to retreat from London as it predicts more families will move out of the capital for more space in future.

UBS reckons that intriguing move will cost it £25million, pushing it into the red.