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


The house building market continues to barrel along so there should be no surprises in today’s full year numbers from brick maker Ibstock. Pre-tax profits are up almost 20% and shareholders will be rewarded with a 4.4% uplift in dividends. The company has had to invest in a major maintenance program to sustain production levels, although sees no impact to operations in the event of a no-deal Brexit. With domestic brick production still short of demand, that can be little surprise.

Direct Line

Full year results from Direct Line may be reporting an upturn in earnings per share, but premiums written have fallen and profits have declined, although this was in line with previous guidance. The company’s effective underwriting leaves scope for some competition on policy pricing in the near term, so this could help reverse that decline in premiums.


Q3 numbers from the plant and vehicle rental specialists Ashtead continue to impress. Over the first nine months, underlying earnings per share are up by over a third and given the strength of business, capital expenditure is tipped to be at the upper end of previous guidance. As the global economy booms this is absolutely fine, but any hint of a slowdown runs the risk of assets sitting idle.

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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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