Friday, 24 February: Gold continued to press on surpassing $1257/oz and breaching highs not seen since early November, as risk appetite fell off with the Nikkei closing lower(-0.45%) and global indices taking a step back on the sentiment. This rendered the week a losing one for the FTSE 100, as select banks and miners dragged the index lower to close -0.38% today.
International Consolidated Airlines(+1.48%) issued full year results today prompting the share price to take off. The owner of British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia noted a revenue dip instigated by the weak pound-euro FX rate, but that profit grew and the dividend saw a hike. Operating profit(+7.2%) came in at €2.48bn as the dividend saw growth of 18% over the prior year to 23.50 euro cents, despite a fall in passenger revenue of 2%. The benefits were recognised as accruing from restructuring and cost-cutting initiatives, in addition to a sharp drop in fuel costs of approximately 20%.
RBS(-4.02%) issued full year results today capping off a week of banking results, contrary to the saying ‘saving the best ’til last” as the Scottish banking giant rang in a widening loss for 2016 due to hefty restructuring and litigation costs. A pre-tax operating loss of £4.08bn was seen, growing from the £2.70bn loss recorded in 2015. This was in line with analyst expectations of a £3.46bn operating loss, excluding a provision taken for restructuring of the Williams & Glyn branches which it failed to dispose of. RBS also saw its common equity tier 1 ratio descend lower, from 15.5% at the end of 2015 to 13.4%.
Standard Chartered(-2.79%) also weighed on the FTSE 100, as the emerging markets-focused lender said it swung to profit in 2016 but paid no dividend and warned of a “challenging 2017”. Pre-tax profit was recorded at $409.0m, swinging from a $1.52bn loss in 2015. The bank also took restructuring charges of £855.0m for the year, primarily related to its liquidation portfolio and redundancy costs.
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