BNP Paribas Targets Higher Shareholder Returns Through 2025
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BNP Paribas SA plans to raise the proportion of earnings it pays to shareholders through 2025, joining a cohort of European lenders in increasing shareholder returns after the European Central Bank lifted the restrictions on payouts it had imposed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The French bank said Tuesday that it is targeting a payout ratio of 60% as part of its new plan from 2022 to 2025, including a minimum cash payout of 50%. For 2021, it is proposing a dividend of 3.67 euros ($4.20) in cash, representing a 50% payout ratio that rises to 60% when factoring in a EUR900 million share-buyback program that BNP Paribas completed in December. The bank will be distributing EUR5.4 billion in total for 2021 if shareholders back its proposal at the annual general meeting on May 17. Major European banks are planning higher returns to shareholders after the ECB lifted restrictions that curbed lenders' dividend payments and share buybacks. The central bank had imposed the restrictions in March 2020 when the pandemic hit markets, in an aim to boost banks' capacity to absorb losses.
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The Swiss stock market posted gains on Monday. While interest rate worries continued to weigh, good corporate figures and strong recent economic data provided support. The SMI gained 0.4 per cent to 12,194 points. Among the 20 SMI stocks, there were 13 price gainers and seven price losers. 34.79 million shares were traded (previously: 36.7 million). ABB shares led the SMI with a gain of 2.3 per cent. The stock has been playing catch-up, down 10 per cent since the beginning of the year. The company also won an order from Spain for traction and battery technologies for trains. Financial stocks benefited from the prospect of rising interest rates. Credit Suisse and UBS each gained 1.7 per cent, and among insurers, Zurich Insurance climbed 1.3 per cent. JP Morgan resumed coverage of the share with "Outperform".
European equity indices closed higher on Monday after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde played down fears that the eurozone would soon raise interest rates. The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.7% to 465.3 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 and the SBF 120 gained 0.8% and 0.77% respectively. In Frankfurt, the DAX 40 also gained 0.7% and the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.9%. Ceconomy AG said Monday that sales and earnings fell in the first quarter amid pandemic-related restrictions and supply-chain pressures, but backed growth targets for the full fiscal year. The German electronics retailer made sales of 6.85 billion euros ($7.84 billion) in the three months to the end of December, 6.8% lower on a like-for-like basis than in the comparable period the previous year. Digital and bricks-and-mortar sales fell, with online penetration dropping several points to 27.5% of the total, Ceconomy said. In line with lower revenue, adjusted earnings before interest and taxes dropped to EUR274 million from EUR346 million previously, while net profit fell to EUR122 million from EUR153 million. Chanel SA’s small Classic Flap bag was always a luxury item, but after three price hikes last year, it is selling for $8,200. That is up from the $5,200 it cost in 2019. The French fashion house has been raising prices at a faster pace than other luxury brands, analysts say, prompting an outcry from some shoppers and testing their willingness to pay.
The S&P 500 edged lower after waffling between small gains and losses, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market. The S&P 500 slipped 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hugged the flatline. Stocks have had a turbulent start to the year, amplified in recent days by extreme moves in big tech stocks. Friday's better-than-expected jobs report also turned traders' attention back to central-bank policy, which is set to tighten as the economy continues to recover. Hasbro reported better-than-expected earnings thanks to strong consumer demand for its entertainment products and board games amid the pandemic. Stock in the toy maker initially rose, but then moved into the red. Near midday, the stock was down 1.7% to $92.37. Hasbro reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.21 for the fourth quarter of 2021, down from $1.27 a year earlier, but still above the FactSet consensus forecast of 88 cents. Revenue jumped 16.8% to $2.01 billion, beating the FactSet consensus call of $1.87 billion. Revenue in the company’s entertainment segment climbed 54%. The Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed Tesla Inc. for information about compliance with a court-ordered settlement requiring a company lawyer to preapprove certain of Elon Musk’s tweets. Tesla said in a regulatory filing made public Monday that the SEC had sought information on “governance processes around compliance” with a settlement related to Mr. Musk’s 2018 tweet claiming to have secured funding to potentially take the electric-vehicle maker private.
The stock market landscape in East Asia and Australia is divided on Tuesday. While the Chinese stock exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong are down by up to 1.5 per cent, the other places in the region are up. In Tokyo, the Nikkei index gains 0.3 per cent to 27,327 points, in Sydney trading has already ended with a plus of 1.1 per cent.
In the U.S. bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond eased by 1 basis point to 1.916% from 1.930% on Friday.
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