03 April 2020
A surge in the price of Brent Crude helped lift the FTSE 100 into the black on Thursday (2 April), with oil giants Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDSA) and BP plc (BP) among the day’s best performers. At the close of play, the UK’s blue-chip index was up 0.47% to 5,480.22.
SECTOR IN FOCUS
Banks have a key role to play in the coronavirus crisis as they are the conduits responsible for funnelling stimulus money to the businesses and people who need it most. However, shareholders will have been left frustrated this week after the decision of the UK’s major banks to suspend dividend payments until the end of 2020 following pressure from the Bank of England (BoE). Between them, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Barclays (BARC), Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY), HSBC (HSBA) and Standard Chartered (STAN) were due to pay out more than £8 billion in 2019 dividends but will instead hold onto this cash to help them ride out Covid-19 and to ensure they can carry on lending. Following discussions with the BoE, the banks have also decided to temporarily halt staff bonus payments and share buybacks. Since the announcement on Tuesday (31 March), the shares of all of the banks mentioned have fallen by more than 10%.
The International Monetary Fund, which offers help to countries in financial difficulty, is set to publish its eagerly anticipated semi-annual Global Financial Stability Report on Thursday (9 April). Expect the coronavirus as well as rising corporate and national debt to be dominant themes.
If you’re approaching retirement, then it’s likely you’ll want your investment portfolio to start generating an income for you when you give up work. A good global equity income fund will do this while offering some protection to your investments by spreading them out across multiple markets. Janus Henderson Global Equity Income Fund I Inc (GB0031263899) offers a solid yield (or income) for a reasonable fee.
8 April – Supermarkets have benefitted enormously from coronavirus-induced panic buying of late, with sales hitting record levels in March. We will find out how much of that revenue boost has been captured in Tesco plc’s (TSCO) 2020 preliminary results when the supermarket giant reports on Wednesday (8 April).
8 April – ASOS plc (ASC), the online fashion retailer popular with trendy twenty-somethings, is set to report its interim results on Wednesday (8 April). The retailer recently halted deliveries to manage its stock levels due to a spike in orders from homebound customers.