The FTSE 100 was struggling for direction on Friday morning with plenty for investors to think about from global trade to Brexit but little they can make sense of. After trading lower shortly after the open, the index is currently back in positive territory, though only just, and above the 7,200 mark.

High street lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) declares a special dividend after its annual profit more than doubled, putting more distance between the company and a decade of turmoil that followed the 2008 financial crisis.

On the negative side, RBS warns that its 2020 target of achieving a cost-to-income ratio of less than 50% was 'increasingly challenging' with the risk being to the downside. It also flags increased loan impairments amid a gloomier economic outlook.

In a see-saw reaction to the mixed results, the shares are currently trading 1% higher at 244p having dipped lower in early trading.

Alongside full year results property investor and developer Segro (SGRO) launches a £450m share issue to fund its development pipeline.

'We believe using new equity alongside our existing debt facilities and the proceeds from normal course portfolio recycling will ensure that we can continue to deliver the attractive returns from development while retaining a strong balance sheet,' chief executive David Sleath says.

Packaging group Mondi (MNDI) says it expects to post higher annual earnings amid buoyant demand for cardboard containers.

Underlying earnings for the year through December are expected to come in above the €1.48bn recorded in the previous year, the company says.

Food producer Premier Foods (PFD) terminates discussions with parties eyeing an acquisition its Ambrosia tinned custard brand, citing 'the present business climate'.

A 'number' of parties had expressed an interest in Ambrosia, the company says. Since the New Year, it had moved on to conduct detailed talks with a small number of them.

'The board has concluded that in the present business climate the process will not result in a satisfactory financial outcome,' Premier Foods adds. 'As a result, these discussions have now concluded.' Its shares slip 4.4% to 35.6p

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) books a 28% slump in annual profit, owing to write downs, higher operating costs and disruptions caused by an overhaul of a hotel in London, Mayfair.

Pre-tax profit for the year through December fell to £106m, as revenue per room fell 1.5% to £81.57.

On a constant currency basis, revenue per room improved 0.7% to £80.97 and investors were sufficiently encouraged by this chink of light to mark the shares 0.9% higher at 461p.


Issue Date: 15 Feb 2019