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

SEGRO

SEGRO [LON:SGRO], the commercial property landlords, have published full year results for the period to December 31st this morning.  Demand for warehouse space has been trending higher anyway but the additional reliance on ecommerce during the pandemic has given the company a shot in the arm. Pre-tax profits are up 10.8%, the net asset value has risen by more than 16% and shareholders are being rewarded with a 6.8% increase in the dividend. Although rent collection was impacted by the pandemic in the early stages, the company notes that 98% of all rent due in 2020 has now been collected. A provision of £4.1m – just over 1% of revenue – is being made for bad debts.

NatWest Group

Full year results are out from NatWest Group [LON:NWG] this morning and it’s another weighty tome. Headline numbers show that the company has struggled through the last 12 months, with income off by around a quarter and the solid operating profits of 2019 returning to a loss for 2020 following an increase in bad debt provision. That’s somewhat worse than had been expected, with many suggesting a profit would be attributable to shareholders, albeit at a significantly diminished level. RoTE fell from an impressive 9.4% last year to -2.4%, although the bank expects to see this bounce back by 2023. The dividend is being reinstated at 3p per share.

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Focusrite

Something a little left field to round off the week is a trading update from Focusrite [LON:TUNE], the AIM listed global music and audio products company. They have advised the market that the board expects revenues for the 6 months to February 28th to be in excess of £90m, compared to the £49.9 achieved in the comparative period. It seems that lockdown has increased demand for the company’s goods, although as the economy reopens it also has a division which is set to benefit from audio at live events. One to watch.

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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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