The UK’s leading index continues its losing trend on Friday, despite a better performance on Wall Street overnight as interest rate hike fears subside. A positive overnight session in Asia also fails to lift the FTSE 100 out of its slump, weakness compounded by some heavyweight constituents struggling today.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) loses 4.4% to 269.6p despite posting its first ‘bottom line’ profit for a decade. Its 2017 profit came in at £725m compared to a £6.96bn loss in 2016. The bank, which is still 71% government-owned, reveals that its net interest margin, a key indicator of profitability, has dropped to 2.13% from 2.18% in 2016.
British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) descends 3.6% to 600p despite posting a 3.5% increase in profit after tax to £2.02bn. The company also announces a €500m share buyback scheme despite already returning over €1bn to shareholder last year through dividends and buybacks.
Bookmaker William Hill (WMH) loses 2.3% to 323.6p on releasing its 2017 results to 26 December. The gambling giant's revenue is up 7% to £1.7bn with adjusted operating profit improving 11% to £291.3m both on a year-on-year basis. The company has benefitted from growth in its online business and more score draws on Boxing Day in the English Premier League.
Publishing house Pearson (PSON) ticks up 5.1% to 740.4p on saying its 2017 adjusted operating profit came in at the top end of forecasts at £576m. The company also turned a £2.5bn loss in 2016 into a statutory profit of £451m for 2017.
Asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) improves 1% to 389.4p. The company has just revealed it is selling its insurance business for £3.24bn to Phoenix (PHNX) although it gains a 19.9% stake in Phoenix through the deal.
Phoenix itself gains 6.9% to 812p on news of its proposed acquisition of Standard Life Assurance; Phoenix expects the deal to generate an additional £5.5bn of cashflow once it has gone through.
Property listing company Rightmove (RMV) is up 1.2% to £43.61 after posting a 10% increase in operating profit to £178.3m in 2017. The company’s revenue also improved 11% to £243.3m with a 14% hike in its final dividend to 36p per share.