FTSE 100 movers: RBS leads index lower, AstraZeneca sinks on fall in profit
The FTSE 100 was down 0.58% at the end of afternoon trading on Friday, at 7,409.13.
Royal Bank of Scotland was the big loser after it unveiled a better-than-expected rise in annual profits and said it was changing its name to NatWest Group.
The bank, 62%-owned by the UK taxpayer, reported operating profit before tax of £4.23bn for the financial year, up from £3.3bn and better than its own forecast of £3.8bn. It declared a final ordinary dividend of 3 pence a share with a 5 pence special dividend.
Analysts had been anticipating an ordinary dividend of 4.4p.
Jefferies said the underwhelming dividend suggested RBS was preparing to buy back some of the government's 62% stake, held since the banking bailout of 2008.
The bank has said it would consider a "directed buyback" of taxpayers' holding to purchase extra shares alongside government sales.
“We believe investors will be disappointed with capital return in Q4," said Joseph Dickerson of Jefferies in a note to clients.
“"On the other hand, the lower dividend per share may portend greater buybacks in the near-term.
“Perhaps this suggests management teeing up a directed buyback after the 11 March budget?”
NMC Health was down after one of its biggest shareholders resigned from the board of the embattled United Arab Emirates healthcare group.
The company said Khalifa Butti Omeir Bin Yousef, who was executive vice chairman, had resigned as a director with immediate effect.
Bin Yousef is the chairman of KBBO, an Abu Dhabi-based investment company that jointly owns a 40% stake in NMC that has been the subject of bid speculation.
He led NMC's initial public offering in 2012, according to NMC's website.
AstraZeneca was also on the wrong side of the index, after it announced a 14% fall in annual profit 14% as rising costs and higher asset writedowns offset sales increases at the pharmaceutical company.
Operating profit for the year to the end of December declined to $2.9bn (£2.2bn) from $3.4bn a year earlier as revenue rose 10% to $24.4bn.
Excluding currency changes, operating profit dropped 16% and sales increased 13%.
Pretax profit fell to $1.55bn from $1.99bn. The company's core earnings per share meanwhile rose 1% to $3.50.
On the upside, Standard Life Aberdeen was among the top risers after the asset management trade body, the Investment Association, named its chief executive Keith Skeoch as its next chair.
Legal & General was also in the green as its chief executive Michelle Scrimgeour was names one of the association’s deputy chairs at the same time.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Informa (INF) 778.20p 2.64%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 996.40p 2.55%
Pearson (PSON) 570.20p 2.48%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 318.40p 2.25%
British Land Company (BLND) 587.80p 2.16%
Next (NXT) 7,128.00p 2.15%
National Grid (NG.) 1,040.00p 2.02%
ITV (ITV) 136.00p 1.95%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 639.60p 1.72%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 325.60p 1.65%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 214.40p -6.82%
NMC Health (NMC) 775.00p -5.28%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 7,300.00p -4.27%
BAE Systems (BA.) 644.20p -2.81%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 56.61p -2.45%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 7,800.00p -2.07%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,099.00p -1.81%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,825.00p -1.64%
Glencore (GLEN) 233.95p -1.62%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,902.00p -1.56%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Galliford Try (GFRD) 190.44p 9.22%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 1,404.00p 8.17%
Grainger (GRI) 331.40p 5.21%
Savills (SVS) 1,255.00p 3.97%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 293.40p 3.90%
Safestore Holdings (SAFE) 854.00p 3.77%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 530.00p 3.72%
Future (FUTR) 1,292.00p 3.04%
Derwent London (DLN) 4,268.00p 2.98%
Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 248.30p 2.82%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Finablr (FIN) 78.40p -5.83%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 421.80p -4.18%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 870.20p -4.16%
GVC Holdings (GVC) 838.20p -3.44%
Hunting (HTG) 306.20p -3.41%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 6,900.00p -3.16%
Essentra (ESNT) 420.40p -2.78%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 500.00p -2.72%
Bakkavor Group (BAKK) 135.00p -2.60%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 5.27p -2.31%