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

Unite Group

There’s an interesting quarterly valuation update out from student accommodation provider Unite UK [LON:UTG]. This covers the period to June 30th and despite the impact of COVID and with questions lingering over what this might mean for university education, there has been no write down of property values. The company does note that for the coming academic year, reservations are at 81% versus 90% at the same point in 2019 and occupancy is targeted at 90%, versus the 98% achieved a year ago. That will equate to a 10-20% reduction in rental income for the period.

SEGRO

Keeping with property, SEGRO [LON:SGRO] has published an update covering its rent collection status for monies which were due on June 24th to cover the third quarter. The company notes that as of yesterday, 93% of UK rent had been collected, whilst a proactive approach was being taken on a case by case basis, deferring payment dates to the second half as and where appropriate. For its continental European operations, 98% of rents have been paid.


FirstGroup

Full year results from transport operator First Group [LON:FGP] are out today, covering the period to March 31st. Revenues were up almost 9% but impairment charges, restructuring and early stage COVID-related costs saw the company post an operating loss of over £150 million, down from a £9.8 million profit a year earlier. Given the ongoing impact of the global health pandemic, investors will likely be more concerned about the outlook. The note states that based on current measures, an adjusted operating profit and positive cash from operations before CAPEX has been delivered since the start of the financial year. A series of scenarios are included in its going concern assessment which may be worth further investigation, although it’s difficult to second guess how the underlying market will look come September.

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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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