Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Lloyds Banking Group
Full year results are out from Lloyds Bank [LON:LLOY] this morning – wrapped up in a weighty 112 page document. The critical point for many stock watchers will be the resumption of a dividend payment, although with this coming in at just 0.57p per share, it’s probably lower than many had been hoping for. Regardless, it signals an intention to resume shareholder payouts and sentiment also stands to be bolstered by modest impairment charges in the latter part of the year when compared to the big hit booked in the first half. Underlying profit is reported as being down 71% at just under £2.2 billion.
AIM listed biotech N4 Pharma [LON:N4P] has been on the radar in recent months given its work in a novel vaccine delivery system which could benefit the COIVD battle. Full year results have been published today and a sharp increase in R&D costs have served to widen the operating loss to £1.56m, out from the £947k of a year ago. However the company notes its bolstered cash position after successful fundraising last year, with over £3.5m in hand. That gives it more than sufficient capital to complete the current planned works and the expectation is that as the COVID virus evolves, so will vaccines, paving the way for using its technology for their administration. It’s worth adding that the company is also looking at this technology for cancer treatments.
Vodafone [LON:VOD] has confirmed this morning that it plans to list its Vantage Towers division on the Frankfurt stock exchange before the end of March. The offering will consist of a secondary sell-down of shares already held by Vodafone, with the expectation that a meaningful minority free float will facilitate a liquid market for Vantage. How much this is expected to raise – or indeed the planned use of those funds – doesn’t seem to have been identified, but a B2B utility play like that may well be an attractive proposition for investors.
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