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First Group

There’s a solid enough set of full year figures out from First Group today. Earnings per share have come in a shade above expectations and although there are some weighty exceptional items which have driven the company to a statutory loss, the longer term outlook appears robust. UK rail franchises could remain problematic – the company booked a £100m charge against expected underperformance of the TransPennine Express route – but operations in the US school bus market, the biggest sector, continue to deliver.

Johnson Matthey

The chemicals business Johnson Matthey reports full year earnings today as well. Previously anticipated impairment charges have weighed on the outlook here but the business is recommending a dividend increase of 7%. On first inspection, there’s little for investors not to like about these numbers perhaps beyond the risk of selling on the back of facts.


The FCA has this morning published its review of high cost credit, and contrary to popular opinion, this includes elements like overdraft charges. Moves to increase transparency here will save consumers (or cost the banks) up to £140m a year, whilst doorstep lending and catalogue credit are also included in the mix. Some reaction in share price from the likes of Provident Financial and Next may be seen as a result – one to watch.

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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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