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4-Traders Homepage  >  Equities  >  London Stock Exchange  >  Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc    RBS   GB00B7T77214

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FTSE ends higher on some positive earnings, insurers slip

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02/27/2017 | 06:13pm CET
FILE PHOTO:  A man walks through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London

Britain's top share index closed slightly higher on Monday, helped by earnings updates and weak sterling, although motor insurers were hit by a regulatory change that could lead to higher payouts.

The broader market was helped by sterling, which fell after talk of another possible Scottish independence vote added to fears about Britain's future as it prepares to leave the European Union.

A weaker pound often helps the blue-chip FTSE 100 <.FTSE>, because the index is dominated by globally focused firms. The benchmark index finished 0.1 percent higher and was set to end the month up more than 2 percent, after retreating last month.

Companies such as Unilever, Bunzl and Convatec were among the top gainers.

Business supplies firm Bunzl (>> Bunzl plc) posted better-than-expected results, boosting it to the top of the FTSE, up 3.4 percent. Convatec (>> ConvaTec Group PLC), the medical supplies company, was up 1 percent.

Unilever (>> Unilever plc) was up 1.5 percent. Near Friday's close Chief Financial Officer Graeme Pitkethly said the Kraft Heinz bid had been a "trigger moment" for Unilever to focus more on short-term value creation.

However, motor insurers came under pressure, with shares in Admiral <ADM.L> and Direct Line (>> Direct Line Insurance Group PLC) falling 2.5 percent and 7.2 percent respectively.

They were hit by the government's reduction of a rate which discounts certain large motor claims. The Ministry of Justice cut the discount rate to minus 0.75 percent from 2.5 percent.

"We expect today's change to lead to premium price increases, in addition to those required to pass on ongoing non-bodily injury claims inflation," UBS analysts said in a note.

Direct Line said it expected profit before tax to fall by 215 million to 230 million pounds. Consultancy PwC said the rate change would add 50 to 75 pounds to the average motor insurance policy.

London Stock Exchange (>> London Stock Exchange Group Plc) also fell after its plans to merge with Deutsche Boerse faltered. LSE said it believed the European Commission is unlikely to clear the merger with its German peer. LSE shares finished 3.2 percent lower.

RBS (>> Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc) was down 1.1 percent, maintaining Friday's move down after the bank's results disappointed. Retailer ABF (>> Associated British Foods plc), which owns discount fashion brand Primark, fell 0.9 percent after its results.

"Primark's subdued like-for-like and upcoming margin headwinds are unlikely to prove conducive to continued near-term valuation rebuild," said Jefferies analysts, who have a 'hold' rating on the stock.

(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Larry King)

By Helen Reid

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Financials ( GBP)
Sales 2017 12 077 M
EBIT 2017 4 034 M
Net income 2017 -612 M
Debt 2017 -
Yield 2017 0,53%
P/E ratio 2017 -
P/E ratio 2018 14,94
Capi. / Sales 2017 2,29x
Capi. / Sales 2018 2,27x
Capitalization 27 595 M
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Royal Bank of Scotland Gro Technical Analysis Chart | RBS | GB00B7T77214 | 4-Traders
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Consensus
Sell
Buy
Mean consensus UNDERPERFORM
Number of Analysts 23
Average target price 2,17  GBP
Spread / Average Target -7,0%
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Managers
NameTitle
Ross Maxwell McEwan Group Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Howard John Davies Chairman
Mark Bailie Chief Operating Officer
Ewen Stevenson Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director
Aileen N. Taylor Director & Chief Governance Officer
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