Friday Email: 20 March 2020

Every Friday morning our lead analyst Mark Riding sends out his weekly run-down and upcoming events in the investor calendar, like this one:

It does not seem like it, but the FTSE 100 is actually trading up slightly this week and is trading at 5382 as at 8.15 in as volatile a market as we have ever seen. From a dividend perspective this week has been unprecedented. In the 9 years or so that DividendMax has been operating we have only seen a declared dividend overturned a few times; most notably by BP following Deepwater Horizon.

This morning we saw Travis Perkins 'suspend' their declared dividend and Intercontinental Hotels Group also 'withdrew' their declared dividend. Additionally, Marks & Spencer will not pay a final dividend this year and JD Wetherspoon also cancelled their Interim dividend.

On Thursday National Express stated that they are 'monitoring' their declared dividend, Playtech cut their declared dividend, Crest Nicholson cut their declared dividend, Elementis cut their declared dividend, Portmeirion reported no final dividend to conserve cash, NewRiver REIT reported that their Q4 dividend will be cut and Next plc deferred their final dividend.

On Wednesday when it all started to emerge from a dividend perspective, quicker than we expected, every dividend decision that morning in the UK was affected by Covid 19; Morrisons Supermarkets pulled their special, Centaur media pulled their special, Ferrexpo deferred their final dividend pending further clarity on Coronavirus and Micro Focus overturned their declared dividend.
There were a number of dividend declarations this week and on a positive note, China, who are roughly 3 months ahead of everybody else did not see any new cases yesterday. We are in for a rocky ride and the only prudent move is to take the virus seriously. Meanwhile, we are reviewing as many of our dividend forecasts as we can. Clearly the near term picture will continue to be affected adversely.
All of the DividendMax team are working from home. I personally had a short break in Budapest last weekend, but the situation deteriorated so rapidly in terms of lockdown that I had to rush to the airport on Tuesday as my Wednesday flight was cancelled twice. Fortunately the planes were half empty and it was easy to get back.
We would like to express that our thoughts are with all of our members across the globe in these troubled times and that you all keep safe and well whilst we wait for the situation to pass over.



This email was originally sent on Friday 20 March 2020

The Friday email is delivered to over 20,000 subscriber’s every week, and remains a widely read run-down of recent events and what investors can expect in the week ahead written by our chief analyst Mark Riding.

It’s included as part of the free DividendMax trial.