Market Prognosis

A concise summary of the major macro events of the past 24 hours, and selected UK company-specific news.

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February 20, 2024

The buybacks continue


US markets were closed yesterday.

China introduced sharply lower mortgage rates for its beleaguered housing market without any impact on equity markets.

BoE Governor Bailey and other MPC members will be questioned later today by the Treasury Select Committee.

UK Companies

Barclays has pledged to return £10bn to shareholders over the next three years.  

Plus500 reported that FY 2023 results are significantly ahead of market expectations and announced additional shareholder returns of $175.0m, comprising a $100.0m new share buyback programme and $ 75.0m of dividends. 

Springfield Properties said FY results 2024 align with market expectations, including meeting targets to reduce net bank debt to c. £55.0m by 31 May 2024. Its reservation rates show initial signs of recovery with a return in homebuyer confidence. Further profitable land sales are being negotiated, and cost inflation continues to reduce and stabilise around 2.5%. It states that it is well-placed to satisfy pent-up demand. (Note). 

UK upstream oil and gas supplier Kistos has agreed to terms with EDF to acquire two UK onshore gas storage facilities for £25 million. At current working capacity, this asset accounts for 3.1% of the UK’s total available onshore gas storage capacity. Due to the fast-cycle nature of the facility, it can deliver up to 11% of the UK’s flexible daily gas capacity if called upon.  It is possible to increase its proportion of the UK’s total onshore gas storage materially with reactivation and further development work. Kistos states that once completed, it will own one of the UK’s most flexible “batteries,” vital for energy security and supply.

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