The main earnings news this morning is Lloyds with a chunky +24% profits hike (more below). Asian trading managed to avoid much of Wall Street’s ‘downer’ last night, which saw the Dow Jones sink more than -1% following a six-day return to positive readings. The Hang Seng today surged almost +1.5% while the Shanghai Composite was up almost +0.50%.
More yen weakness gave some slight encouragement to the Nikkei, up +0.21%. At 7am the pound was hovering close to the 1.40 handle, up +0.05% while the euro had drifted -0.03% lower against the dollar to 1.2333. The spot dollar price was higher at 89.78, up +0.08%. Market-sensitive US Fed FOMC minutes from January emerge later on today.
A busy day for news otherwise with a rash of European flash PMIs; French and German data arrive at 8am and 8.30am while key UK unemployment numbers are out at 9.30am. On the UK political front expect to hear more Brexit arguing with a new letter from Tory Eurosceptics warning the PM to plough on with plans to quit the customs union for “full regulatory autonomy”.
Some just-emerging news from Swiss miner Glencore with a +44% profits jump to $14.7bn and a strong $0.20 dividend.
- UK FTSE 100 7,246.77 -0.01%
- DAX 12,487.90 +0.83%
- CAC 40 5,289.86 +0.64%
- Euro Stoxx 600 380.51 +0.60%
- Dow 24,964.75 -1.01%
- S&P 500 2,716.26 -0.58%
- Nasdaq 7,234.31 -0.07%
- Nikkei 225 21,970.81 +0.21%
- Gold 1,329.70 -0.11%
- Oil WTI 61.77 +0.15%
Lloyds Bank claim robust profits in full private ownership year
Lloyds Bank earlier announced a £5.3bn annual pre-tax result though the headline number fell somewhat behind City expectations of £5.7bn. Lloyds also confirmed a widely-suspected £1bn buy-back plan. There are also some new cost-cutting plans. Either way, this morning’s new numbers are the best seen since 2006.
“2017 has been a landmark year for the Group. In May the UK government completed the sell-down of its shares and the Group returned to full private ownership,” said CEO António Horta-Osório.
At the edges Lloyds has continued to shell out for PPI costs. The PPI charge was £1,650m including an additional £600m in the fourth quarter “reflecting an increase in expected weekly complaints from 9,000 to 11,000, which is the average level of complaints for the last nine months”. Lloyds says the outstanding balance sheet provision is £2.4bn.
Barratt six-month revenues up
There emerged solid results from Barratt Developments at 7am. Revenues climbed by almost +10% to £1.9bn for the first six months of the year while pre-tax profits are +6.8% higher at £342.7m.
Barratt’s operating margin is slightly up (+0.1 ppts) to 17.9% benefitting from sites bought at better margins but “partly offset by continued headwinds in the high end central London market”. Barratt also announce news of a new division in Cambridgeshire to meet demand for the region.
Breaking news: The AA has cut its dividend – from 9p to 2p – plus dialled back profit hopes to the £335m region compared with £390-395m. The AA is driving more investment into call-out vans and response times it claims. “These investments, while reducing our short term profitability, are vital to our long term success," says CEO Simon Breakwell.
Metro Bank says annual profits came in at £10.8m thanks to improvements in revenues and its loan book.