Updates from Barclays and Standard Life


The FTSE 100 climbed +0.73% yesterday, up almost 49 points, to 6,774. New numbers from BP strongly supported the oil giant's share price, climbing +5.62% to 477p.50p. Persimmon followed in second place, up +2.53% to 1255p, followed by Admiral Group and M&S.

Overnight, the Nikkei climbs +1.23% to 14,502 while the Hang rises +0.97% to 23,067.
First off, a 26% profits tumble for Barclays after investment bank earnings came under pressure in the last quarter. Barclays says underlying pretax profits came in at £1.4bn for the three months up to September compared with £1.9bn this time last year.

However the Barclays numbers remain better than expected. Looking at the numbers for the last nine months, pre-tax profits though climb substantially, from £962m to £2.85bn. There has been no cut in the amount that Barclays has set aside for mis-sold personal protection insurance (PPI), at almost £4bn.

"We will pay a third interim dividend for 2013 of 1.0p per share on 13 December 2013 resulting in a 3.0p dividend year to date," says Barclays. As far as outlook goes, "we continue to remain cautious".

Next, a Q3 interim from Standard Life. Group assets under administration (AUA) are up +9% to £237.6bn (FY 2012: £218.1bn; Q3 2012: £211.9bn) while fee-based revenue increased by +15% to £1,059m (2012: £923m) in the first nine months of the year.

"In the UK," chief exec David Nish says, "both our corporate and retail businesses have performed well. We have assisted employers with over 100 auto enrolment implementations and have increased the number of corporate pension customers to 1.4 million, adding 195,000 new customers."

Yesterday broker Sanford Bernstein re-stated their Underperform rating on Standard Life with a 315p price target. Currently Standard Life shares sell for 369p.20p. However analysts from BNP Paribas earlier in the month reiterated their Outperform rating on the stock with a 434p target price.

Finally, a quick look at Next with new, better-than-expected sales. The high street retailer says brand sales in the third quarter were up +4.3%, just above its second half guidance range of +1% to +4%. Trading remained volatile throughout the period though it warns.

With better visibility of full year costs, Next has narrowed sales, profit and EPS guidance for the full year: it predicts brand sales growth of up to 3.75% compared to 3.50% with group profit profit tax rising, at the upper end, to £675m.

"Earnings per share," it says, "will be enhanced by share buybacks of at least £300m, of which we have already purchased £295m. We may buy up to £50m more shares in the current year, depending upon the prevailing share price."

  • Barclays
  • Standard Life
  • Next