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Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.

BAE Systems

Full year results from BAE Systems [LON:BA] have been published this morning, showing a resilient performance for the business despite the uncertain economic backdrop. Sales were up around 3.5%, whilst profitability nudged its way a little higher, too. Investors are likely to be cheered not only by this but also confirmation that the second dividend payment from 2019 which was suspended in light of market conditions is recommended for payment. Management notes there’s a large order backlog and that demand for the company’s capabilities remains high.


Centrica [LON:CNA] has published its full year numbers this morning, too. The company is undergoing a turn-around strategy which is now underway but still has a long way to go according to management. Noting the impacts of COVID-19, the warmer weather and lower commodity prices, operating profits fell by 22% and given the uncertain outlook, the company notes it won’t be providing any guidance for the year ahead. Dividends remain suspended.

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Associated British Foods

A pre-close trading period for Associated British Foods [LON:ABF] is out today, in the run up to the release of interim results on 20th April. The non-retail (i.e. everything other than Primark) side of the business is expected to be ahead of expectations and the comparative period a year ago. COVID lockdowns have however rattled the clothing side of the business with lost sales estimated at £1.1bn, resulting in total sales for the period of £2.2bn although the company believes this will still come in marginally above break-even versus a £441m profit a year ago. On a more optimistic note, the company believes that 83% of its retail estate will be open by April 26th. Diversification has favoured the company, but an unwinding of lockdown really can’t come quickly enough.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Tony Cross

Tony Cross

Tony Cross is a market commentator with over 15 years of experience, producing compelling, insightful copy for journalists and investors alike. Focusing on macroeconomics, UK blue chip equities and inter market analysis, Cross's commentary is well regarded for its clarity and ability to cut through the waffle. He has been quoted in publications as diverse as The Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian and The Sun. He has also been a regular guest on both Share Radio and TipTV.

Stocks in Focus

Here are some of the smaller companies we are following most closely. They all represent significant growth stories in our view. Our in-depth reports go into more detail on why we like them.


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