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

NatWest Group

NatWest Group [LON:NWG] has issued an update this morning into an ongoing FCA investigation. The bank was first notified back in 2017 after the regulator identified a potential failure to comply with money laundering regulations. Today’s update advises that the FCA has now commenced criminal proceedings against the bank. No timeline in regard of the next steps has been offered.


Preliminary results are out from Greggs [LON:GRG] this morning and the headline figures clearly reflect the impact of COVID lockdowns. Sales dropped from £1.16bn to £811m, whilst the £108m profit of a year ago has morphed into its first loss since IPO (-£13.7m). However it’s not all doom and gloom with the multi channel offering yielding results and being seen as a way of expanding growth in the future, whilst the store opening pipeline has been reactivated.  Dividends remain suspended and there’s no hint of a quick resumption here but as Ross Hindle, Analyst at Third Bridge told us, “Greggs is more resilient than many of its food-on-the-go competitors.  The Group has deeper pockets than most of its peers and with only 1 in 8 stores in city centres, Greggs hasn’t been burnt by lockdown in the same way as businesses like Pret a Manger have.”

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Resource play Antofagasta [LON:ANTO] has issued full year numbers this morning, with the company highlighting improvements in EBITDA margins and the strength of the balance sheet. 100% of EPS is being paid out as dividend and guidance for production in the current financial year remains unchanged with the company also noting the potential for copper demand to be driven higher by a range of factors, including renewable energy requirements, restrictions on scrap metal trade in China and a general recovery in demand that was lost in 2020.

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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.

Stocks in Focus

Here are some of the smaller companies we are following most closely. They all represent significant growth stories in our view. Our in-depth reports go into more detail on why we like them.


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