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Virgin Money profits jump, St James's Place appoints new CFO

By Josh White

Date: Thursday 13 Jun 2024

(Sharecast News) - London open

The FTSE 100 is expected to open 25 points lower on Thursday, having closed up 0.83%, on Wednesday at 8,215.48.
Stocks to watch

Virgin Money on Thursday posted an 18% jump in interim profit as it continued to benefit from higher interest rates and a lower bad debt charge, but said it expected headwinds in the second half of the year with the Bank of England expected to cut its benchmark base rate. Pre-tax profit for the six months to March 31 came in at £279m from £236m a year earlier. Net interest income rose 2% to £868m, while net interest margin - the difference between the bank's lending and savings rates - was up three basis points to 1.94%. Bad debt charges were down to £93m from £144m.

Financial advisory firm St. James's Place has appointed the chief financial officer of Credit Suisse's UK operations as its new CFO, replacing Craig Gentle who will be retiring from the business after six years leading the finance function. Subject to the necessary regulatory approvals, Caroline Waddington will join the board in the second half of the year, at which point Gentle will step down as a director. A chartered accountant, Waddington was the former chief operating officer at Credit Suisse International and has held senior finance roles at Barclays Capital, RBS and Deutsche Bank.

Newspaper round-up

Pensioners and people on disability benefits are the winners from radical changes to the welfare system made by the Tories over the last decade, while working-age families are losing out by thousands of pounds every year, according to a report by the Resolution Foundation. The Conservatives' 14-year overhaul of social security has shifted spending away from children and housing to supporting elderly people, and broken the link between entitlement and need for some of the poorest households in the country, the report says. - Guardian

Keir Starmer will put economic growth and wealth creation at the heart of Labour's offer to voters as he launches a business-friendly manifesto targeted at former Conservative voters. The Labour leader will launch his election manifesto in Greater Manchester on Thursday, promising to emphasise economic stability in a deliberate contrast to the Conservatives' more policy-heavy offering earlier this week. - Guardian

Revolut has signed a 10-year lease on a skyscraper in the heart of Canary Wharf in a boost for the financial district. The financial technology business has taken the top four floors of the recently refurbished 30 South Colonnade - now known as YY London. The building will feature two Revolut logos on either side, subject to planning permission, with a move-in date earmarked for May 2025. - Telegraph

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has bought a £400m stake in BT weeks after chief executive Allison Kirkby unveiled a bold shake-up of the telecoms giant. Latin America's richest man, worth $93bn (£72.4bn), on Tuesday disclosed a 3.2pc stake in the FTSE 100 group, making him one of BT's largest shareholders. The swoop by Mr Slim, who made his money in telecoms in Latin America, is likely to prompt speculation about his intentions. - Telegraph

The housing market's nascent recovery in the early months of this year has already "slipped into reverse", with mortgage rates having edged higher again in recent weeks. Estate agents are taking fewer inquiries from would-be buyers, agreeing fewer sales and seeing more price reductions than they were only a month or so ago, according to the most recent industry survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. - The Times

US close

US stocks finished mostly higher on Wednesday with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq reaching new highs after data showed a larger-than-expected slowdown in inflation and the Federal Reserve gave more visibility around the interest-rate outlook.

The Dow closed down 0.1% at 38,712.21, while the S&P 500 gained 0.9% to a new peak of 5,421.03, and the Nasdaq finished 1.5% higher at an all-time high of 17,608.44.

Ahead of the opening bell, data from the Department of Labor showed that the consumer price index (CPI) was flat in May on seasonally adjusted terms - the first such occurrence since July 2022.

Economists had pencilled in an increase of 0.1% after a 0.3% gain in April. In annual terms, the increase in headline CPI eased to 3.3% from 3.4% the month before, while the core rate fell to 3.4% from 3.6% - with both undershooting expectations by 0.1 percentage points.

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