Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.
Full year numbers from Unilever [LON:ULVR] are out this morning, with the company noting modest sales growth, although revenues have been impacted by adverse currency movements. However, despite the uncertainty of 2020, the dividend has been maintained, with an extra 4% being paid out for Q4. This is a long report but little seems to be jumping out – there’s cost savings, a focus on growing three key markets – US, India and China – and a note that the latter two of these territories saw growth return in the second half following lockdowns.
Housebuilder Barratt Developments [LON:BDEV] has published half year results for the 6 months to December 31st. Headline metrics look good with revenues up 10% but that will reflect pent up demand from H1 following lockdown. Margins have however taken a 1.6% hit, but pre-tax profits have still grown. Investors will likely be cheered by news that dividend payments have resumed, although less encouraging is the news that reservations per outlet for January were 7% lower than seen for the same month last year, so before COVID took hold in the UK and without the stamp duty benefits.
Compass Group [LON:CPG] has presented an update ahead of its AGM today. The company notes progress, but adds that volumes are slow to recover. Currency headwinds are also hampering performance, although margins have been ticking higher and the note adds that management is encouraged by the pipeline of new business, believing it can recover margins ahead of volume normalisation.
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