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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (August 01, 2014)

August 1, 2014, Friday, 07:16 GMT | 02:16 EST | 10:46 IST | 13:16 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open lower this morning following the overnight performances on Wall Street and in Asia as investors await a raft of further economic data. Overnight we had the official Chinese manufacturing and HSBC final manufacturing figures out which both recorded readings of 51.7 for July, indicating that the Government's stimulus programme is having a positive impact. The economic diary now focuses on the release of domestic manufacturing data, US non-farm payrolls, the revised University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading and US ISM manufacturing figures. Commodity prices are firmer and on the foreign exchanges, the dollar is slightly higher against the pound, euro and yen but all are within narrow trading ranges ahead of these data releases.


Company Announcements

Royal Bank of Scotland

Half Year Results confirm PBT of GBP2.65bn, up from GBP1.37bn on the same period a year ago on total income lower at GBP9.97bn. It noted that it remains on track to deliver its target of GBP1bn of cost reductions in 2014 and expects a restructuring charge of around GBP1.5bn for this year. Credit impairment charges for the full year are expected to be around GBP1bn. It added that it was making good progress towards its target CET 1 ratio of 11% by the end of 2015 (H1 2014: 10.1%), but reiterated that ongoing conduct and regulatory investigations and litigation continue to present challenges and uncertainties and are expected to act as a drag on capital generation over the coming quarters.

William Hill

Half Year Results see record breaking World Cup wagers drive Q2 operating profit growth. However, operating profit for H1 was down 2% at GBP176.9m on net revenue up 7% at GBP805.2m with 52% of operating profit coming from digital channels and 17% of revenue from international markets. The dividend is raised 8% to 4p a share.

Direct Line

Half Year Results see gross written premium for ongoing operations decline 5.1% with operating profit from ongoing operations down 13.1% at GBP249.1m but total PBT rose 7.8% to GBP225.1m. The combined operating ratio rose 2% to 96.6% and the dividend is raised 4.8% to 4.4p and there is also a special dividend of 10p taking the total amount to 14.4p. It added that these were a good set of results, despite major weather events and competitive markets and it was exploring the potential disposal of its international business. It also reiterated its 2014 aim to achieve a combined operating ratio in the range of 95%-97% for its ongoing operations, assuming a normal level of weather claims.