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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (May 02, 2014)

May 2, 2014, Friday, 09:50 GMT | 04:50 EST | 14:20 IST | 16:50 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open flat this morning as investors await the release of the US non-farm payrolls figures at lunchtime. Prior to this news, the economic diary also sees the publication of domestic construction PMI data. Commodity prices are flat to lower 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

Pfizer

The company has confirmed that it has submitted a revised written proposal to AstraZeneca to make an offer to combine the two companies. The latter has indicated that it will respond after its board has reviewed the proposal. The proposal represents an indicative value of GBP50 per AstraZeneca share. However, there is no certainty that an offer will ultimately be made.

Royal Bank of Scotland

IMS reports that PBT in Q1 came in at GBP1.64bn with operating profit of GBP of GBP1.5bn and noted that with a common equity tier 1 ratio of 9.4% at the end of March 2014, it remains on track to achieve its capital targets and GBP1bn cost reductions in 2014. It added that it expects a modest increase in the net interest margin for the remainder of the year with the ongoing conduct and regulatory investigations and litigation continuing to create challenges for RBS as for other banks.

Direct Line Insurance

IMS reports continued progress in delivering on its strategic initiatives and plans ongoing investment in these that improves its interaction with customers and boosts its competitiveness. Gross written premiums (at constant currency) for ongoing operations fell by 5.1% compared to the corresponding quarter last year reflecting competitive market conditions in UK personal lines. Q1 home weather event claims were GBP60m, lower than the previous estimate of GBP70m-GBP90m. It reiterated its 2014 aim of achieving a combined operating ratio in the range of 95%-97% for ongoing operations, assuming a normal level of weather claims.