HSBC Q4 profits surge | IHG enjoys strong rebound
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4.30pm: Blue chips fall
The FTSE 100 was dragged lower as benign UK PMI figures saw sterling jump, hitting the index’s overseas-earning constituents.
The blue chip index spent the entire session below the water line and closed 36.56 points lower at 7,977.75.
8.15am: Private equity rises
Scotland’s mid-market businesses attracted a record amount of private equity during 2022, despite investment dipping across the rest of the UK, according to new analysis by KPMG UK.
Over the course of the year 51 deals involving Scottish firms were completed, worth £3.5bn, reflecting a year-on-year increase in value of 69 per cent compared with 2021 when 41 deals worth £2bn took place.
Asia-focused bank HSBC said its profit for the final three months of 2022 almost doubled to $5.2bn (£4.3bn), boosted by rising interest rates around the world.
However, pre-tax profit for the year fell by $1.4bn to $17.5bn, as it absorbed the cost of selling its French retail banking operations. HSBC is also in the process of selling its business in Canada.
The bank said it planned to use the money raised from that sale to make payouts to shareholders once the deal is completed.
HSBC declared a second interim dividend of $0.23 per share for 2022, bringing the annual total to $0.32. This is up from the total of $0.25 in 2021.
7am: Public spending
The UK government spent less than it received from taxpayers last month for the first time in a year driven by a big surge in self-employed people paying HMRC.
The difference between what the government generated in revenue and spent hit £5.4bn, meaning the UK’s public finances were in surplus last month, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Interest payments in January on the near £2.5 trillion UK debt pile hit their highest level since records began in 1997 at £6.7bn.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, said: “We are rightly spending billions now to support households and businesses with the impacts of rising prices – but with debt at the highest level since the 1960s, it is vital we stick to our plan to reduce debt over the medium-term.
“Getting debt down will require some tough choices, but it is crucial to reduce the amount spent on debt interest so we can protect our public services.”
7am: Newcastle and Manchester societies merger
The boards of Newcastle Building Society and Manchester Building Society have agreed terms of a merger will transfer operations to Newcastle.
Manchester has not undertaken new lending since 2013, and faces uncertainty around its long-term future in the absence of a transaction.
It was revealed last August that the mutuals had entered into an exclusivity agreement to explore the possibility of a merger.
Newcastle Building Society has about 345,000 members and 31 branches. It employs approximately 1,400 people and at 31 December its total assets were about £5.3bn.
Manchester Building Society, meanwhile, has about 11,000 members and no branches. It employs 44 people and at 31 December 2022 its total assets were about £200m.
7am: Springfield Properties
Housebuilder Springfield Properties said the market had taken a hit from last September’s mini-budget while the Scottish government’s rent controls saw it cancel plans to build affordable homes.
These and other headwinds, such as rising costs, saw pre-tax profit for the half year to the end of November fall 5% from £6.2 million to £5.9m.
InterContinental Hotels Group, which operates the George Hotel in Edinburgh, posted improved profit and revenue in 2022 on the back of a strong rebound in travel following the Covid-19 pandemic.
IHG raised the total annual dividend by more than 60%, and announced a new $750 million share buyback.
The hotel and resort chain reported a pretax profit of $540 million for 2022, up 50% from $361 million in 2021.
PMI data from the UK, France and Germany this morning are set to point to a further pickup in economic activity.
New York markets were closed for a public holiday on Monday.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 index was down 0.2%, as data showed growth in Japan’s private sector steadied in February. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.2%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 1.5%.