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NatWest returns to profit, restores dividend


7am: NatWest (RBS)

NatWest, parent of Royal Bank of Scotland, has announced a return to profitability and a restoration of its dividend.

The bank posted a first half operating profit before tax of  £2.5bn (£1.6bn in Q2) against a loss of £770m at H1 2020.

Attributable profit came in at £1.8bn (£1.2bn in Q2) against a loss of £705m in the first half last year.

The bank declared an interim dividend of 3p per share and a share buyback of up to £750m.

Full story here

Global markets

After the bell yesterday results from Amazon.com disappointed the market. Revenues for Q2 at $113 billion came in short of expectations, while Q3 guidance was also lower than expected.

The figures came too late for the markets which closed higher. The Dow Jones was up 154 points and the S&P 500 rose 19.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 is off 450 points following disturbing trends in the number of COVID cases while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng is down 600 points, despite backpedalling by the Chinese regulators on trading.

Oil prices dropped but remain on track to post steep weekly gains with demand growing faster than supply.

Brent crude futures for September expiring today, fell 45 cents, or 0.6%, to $75.60 a barrel by 0506 GMT, following a 1.75% jump on Thursday.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 43 cents, or 0.6%, to $73.19 a barrel.

But both benchmark contracts were headed for gains of around 2% for the week, buoyed by indications of tight crude supplies and strong demand in the US.

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