Taking a random sample of recent press reports it seems that there is still no consensus about what is happening in the market:
Savills, usually the darling of property performers, posted annual losses of £7.7m and cut its dividend. It reports a “very cautious” outlook for 2009.
Sir John Ritblat said “Only now are we seeing the first tentative signs of a partial thaw”. He is chairman at Colliers CRE which reported losses of £10m for last year compared with profits of £7.9m in 2007.
Top 200 City law firm Hextalls was rescued from administration by its partners who entered a pre-pack arrangement organised by Begbies Traynor.
Meanwhile, BDO Stoy Hayward reminds professional service firms to look for growth in international markets (a strategy followed by many law firms for some time). He mentions S J Berwin and Ashurst launching Asia offices in Hong Kong, Olswang trippling the partner headcount in Berlin and Jones Day opening in Dubai (despite others recently withdrawing on the basis of speculation of its demise).
A recent survey by the London Chamber of Commerce found that 29% of London firms expect prospects to improve over the next year, up five points on the final quarter of 2008 and 15 points on early last year.
So I am still confused…