Feb 18, 2021

Barclays to resume dividends and buy back shares even as profits slump

Barclays is restarting dividends and buying back shares after delivering better than expected results, in spite of another hike to its bad loan cover. A proposed dividend of 1p per share was below the consensus forecast of 3.5p but was compensated by a £700m buyback programme, worth about 4p per share, which raised the cash return to the maximum allowed by the regulators. "We expect the bank to continue to gain market share in investment banking, although we suspect that some of the recent gains can be attributed to peers stepping away from business rather than Barclays actively winning share. Therefore we expect the current pace of gains will slow going forward." The company posted a 75 per cent drop in operating profit for the six months ended December but added that hiring activity had recovered to pre-Christmas levels by early February. For the six months ended December the company reported revenue down 8 per cent to $2.9bn. Smith & Nephew posted a 12.1 per cent drop in underlying revenue for 2020 and cautioned that disruption from Covid-19 was likely to continue for the first half of 2021.

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