Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
There are half year numbers out from JD Wetherspoon [LON:JDW] this morning, but it takes a bit of work to dig through the armchair virology and actually find the number. Revenues more than halved for the 26 weeks to 24th January, although a dramatic fall in operating costs – which weren’t far off seeing a 50% decline against the comparative period – has certainly played a role in limiting losses. Details in terms of outlook appear limited, with a side-swipe at government policy rather than giving any meaningful detail as to how the company expects to manage through the recovery, dominating. Dividends remain suspended.
NatWest Group [LON:NWG] has this morning announced that it completed the purchase of almost 600 million shares from the UK government. The price paid was the 190.5p seen at last night’s close and it takes the taxpayer’s stake in the bank down to just under 60%.
Taylor Wimpey [LON:TW] has advised that the Competition and Markets Authority is moving to the next stage of formal consultation over the housebuilder’s strategy of doubling of leasehold payments every 10 years. Although TW abandoned this plan back in 2012, the sector as a whole will be following the progress closely. Given the significant government subsidies housebuilders have benefitted from since the financial crisis – and their inability to ramp up construction rates to have any meaningful impact on prices – this could well leave many in the sector exposed.
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