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London midday: Stocks lower as banks fall on NatWest results

Published 28/04/2023, 12:57
London midday: Stocks lower as banks fall on NatWest results

Sharecast - The FTSE 100 was down 0.3% at 7,807.64.

Shares in NatWest (LON:NWG) fell despite the UK bank reporting better-than-expected first-quarter profit driven by higher interest rates, as it also posted a sharp drop in deposits as customers chased better rates, with incomes squeezed by rising inflation. Other banks followed suit, with Barclays (LON:BARC) and Lloyds (LON:LLOY) also in the red.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "A drop in customer deposits, while nothing like on the scale seen at other crisis-ridden banks, has helped put the wind up investors in NatWest."

"The gap between the amount NatWest charges for loans compared to what it pays out for deposits, also known as the net interest margin, is also tighter than many had hoped."

"This runs counter to Barclays’ own first quarter numbers which showed higher base interest rates were feeding into a strong net interest margin."

"The disappointing news elsewhere overshadowed NatWest’s better than expected earnings for the first quarter - driven by higher non-interest income and lower impairments on bad debts."

Renishaw (LON:RSW) was under the cosh after it downgraded its full-year profits and revenue guidance amid lower demand from the semiconductor and electronics sectors.

On the upside, Pearson (LON:PSON) rallied as the education publisher said it was on track to meet annual guidance and announced a £300m share buyback to start in the second half of the year, as it posted a 2% jump in total group sales in the first quarter.

Corrugated packaging company Smurfit Kappa (LON:SKG) was up after it reported a rise in first-quarter profit despite a dip in sales.

Asia-focused insurer Prudential (LON:PRU) rose as it reported a jump in first-quarter sales and new business profit.

Hikma (LON:HIK) gained as it upgraded full-year guidance after a stronger-than-expected start to the year for its generics business, but expressed concern about the impact of the current conflict in Sudan on operations.

Specialist engineer Rotork (LON:ROR) advanced after saying it expects 2023 adjusted operating profit to be slightly ahead of expectations driven by strong order intake.

Outside the FTSE 350, broker Numis (LON:NUM) rocketed after agreeing to be bought by Deutsche Bank (ETR:DBKGn) in a £410m cash deal. Under the terms of the transaction, DB will pay 350p per share.

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