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RBS reports rise in annual profits, Segro pleased after 'record year' of completions

By Josh White

Date: Friday 14 Feb 2020

(Sharecast News) - London open

The FTSE 100 is expected to open 19 points higher on Friday, having closed down 1.09% at 7,452.03 on Thursday.
Stocks to watch

Royal Bank of Scotalnd reported a rise in annual profits as it forecast a ?200m hit to its personal business from regulatory changes. The bank reported operating profit before tax of ?4.23bn for the financial year, up from ?3.3bn and declared a final ordinary dividend of 3 pence a share with a 5 pence special dividend. It also announced that it would change its parent company name from RBS to NatWest Group later this year.

Segro reported a 10.8% rise in its adjusted pre-tax profit in its full-year results on Friday, tp ?267.5m, which it said reflected a record year of development completions, high customer retention rates, like-for-like rental growth and a low vacancy rate. The FTSE 100 property investment and development company said adjusted earnings per share stood at 24.4p for the 12 months ended 31 December, which was up 4.3% over 2018, or 9.9% higher excluding the impact of the SELP performance fee received in 2018.

Friday newspaper round-up

Sajid Javid quit as chancellor in protest at a No 10 power grab yesterday and warned that Boris Johnson risked wrecking the Treasury's credibility. The prime minister backed Dominic Cummings, his senior adviser, in demanding that Mr Javid sack his entire team of aides in the reshuffle. Instead the 50-year-old former leadership contender resigned and questioned the "character and integrity" of those around Mr Johnson. - The Times

JCB is cutting production due to anticipated component shortages from Chinese suppliers affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Overtime is being suspended and about 4,000 workers will start a shorter working week from Monday. - Telegraph

A senior White House official has called on Beijing to be more transparent over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak as Chinese authorities expanded "wartime" measures to limit its spread. Casualties from coronavirus reached nearly 1,400, with more than 5,000 new cases reported on Friday, dampening optimism that the virus will soon be contained. - Guardian

Millions of customers could save up to a ?1bn a year on the cost of their landline, broadband, TV and mobile packages, under new Ofcom rules forcing companies to offer the best deals when their contracts come to an end. The broadcasting and media regulator's new rules, which come into force from Saturday, could benefit the estimated 20 million customers who are paying over the odds because they are out of contract and not aware of better deals. - Guardian

US close

Stocks finished lower on Thursday afternoon on the back of news of an upward revision to the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.43% lower at 29,423.31, the S&P 500 lost 0.16% to 3,373.94, and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.14% weaker at 9,711.97.

A change in the methodology in how coronavirus cases in the province of Hubei were categorised led to a 15,152 surge in the number of reported infections.

"It seems stock markets are not entirely immune to the effects of COVID-19, but they are putting up quite a fight in the face of more distressing figures on Wednesday," said Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam.

"I do wonder how bad this needs to get before confidence among the buy-the-dippers starts to be tested."

The latest batch of economic data was mixed, with the latest print on consumer prices pointing firmly higher but levels of staff firings remaining near record lows.

Consumer prices in the US advanced at a year-on-year pace of 2.5% in January, versus the 2.3% seen in the month before, as expected.


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