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

BAE Systems

Defence, security and aerospace firm BAE Systems [LON:BA] has published its full year results this morning. Sales have advanced around 7%, net debt is down and earnings per share are up by around 50%. Shareholders are being rewarded with a 5% hike in the dividend and whilst the Chief Executive is lauding 2019 as a year of progress, there are some questions over how easy it will be to sustain margins in the year ahead, especially in the dominant Air division, where headwinds from pension and research costs are expected to weigh.

Lloyds Banking Group

Full year numbers are also out from Lloyds Banking Group [LON:LLOY] this morning, with underlying profits down 7%. There is a 5% increase in the dividend payable, although investors may be rather more concerned about the dip in Return on Tangible Equity metric. Outlook figures suggest that this number will improve from here, with the clarity from last year’s election lending support. The note acknowledges the significance of the trade deals that the UK needs to strike, but is committed to a progressive dividend policy going forward.

Hays

Recruiter Hays [LON:HAS] has its half year numbers out today and it’s not all that upbeat. Fees are down 3% driving operating profits down by almost a fifth. Despite the company’s global footprint, the slowdown has hit from most territories, so whilst political woes in the UK may now be abating, operations in China are likely to remain constrained by impact of the Coronavirus, whilst Germany struggles with falling business confidence. Investors may struggle to find much inspiration here.

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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.

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