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Themes from February

President Donald Trump promised to increase US defence spending by $54bn however he has proposed cutting the State Department and overseas aid budgets to help fund this increase.

US Federal Reserve policymaker, William Dudley commented that a rate increase is “very much on the table at our March meeting”.

Unilever expects operating margins to improve by between 0.4%-0.8% following short-term measures introduced in response to the Kraft-Heinz failed takeover approach.

BP strategy update detailed a target to grow upstream oil production by 5% p.a. over the 2016 to 2021 period. BP has sold $75bn of assets, mainly oil producing assets since the 2010 “Macondo” spill.

Glencore reported solid 2016 results with profits rising 40% and debt declining 40%. The board announced a 7 cent dividend but also said it would increase shareholder returns in 2017.

Barclays reported pre-tax profits of £3.23bn for 2016 and said its non-core division would be wound up by July 2017, six months ahead of schedule. Tangible net assets rose 15p to 290p per share.

Go-Ahead Group has warned of a wide £15m range to profit forecasts depending on the outcome of industrial relations talks with the Dept of Transport.

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