What to Watch: Admiral slashes dividend, stocks rise, Deutsche Bank and Adidas

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Admiral slashed part of its dividends. (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Insurer Admiral keeps but lowers dividends

The UK insurance firm Admiral (ADM.L) has announced it will continue to pay its normal dividend during the coronavirus crisis, but will suspend plans for a special dividend.

The company said it would go ahead with a planned payout to shareholders later this year, unless there was a “significant deterioration” in its position or outlook. Its chief executive and his wife will donate their dividend payments to their charitable foundation, according to the company on Monday. It also said no staff were being furloughed.

Companies have faced pressure from regulators to save cash during the crisis by suspending dividend payments to shareholders.

Insurers have also faced some political pressure to reduce costs for customers on products like car insurance when cars are not being used, and to provide more support to customers affected by the pandemic.

Deutsche Bank sets aside €500m for COVID-19 losses

Deutsche Bank (DBK.DE) is setting aside €500m (£437m, $542m) to cover an expected rise in losses linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deutsche Bank said late on Sunday (27 April) it was taking the provision to cover expected future credit losses. Credit Suisse set aside a similar sum last week.

The novel coronavirus pandemic could also push Deutsche Bank to break self-imposed capital targets, the German lender warned.

Coronavirus shutdowns slash Adidas net profit by 95% in first quarter

Adidas (ADS.DE) suffered a 95% drop in net profit to €31m (£27m, $33.5m) in the first quarter this year, from the same period a year ago, as the coronavirus pandemic forced store shutdowns.

Shutdowns began with the group’s hugely important Chinese market in January, followed by more closures amid country-wide lockdown across Asia Pacific, and then the rest of the globe during March. The German company said that 70% of its stores are currently closed across the world.

Sales declined by 19% in the first quarter, and Adidas expects them to fall by more than 40% in the second quarter.

European stocks rise as countries discuss easing lockdowns

European stocks gained on Monday as several countries began discussing ways to gradually ease coronavirus lockdowns.

In Spain, children were on Sunday (26 April) allowed outside for the first time in six weeks, while a “clear descending trend” in coronavirus cases in the country will soon see authorities outline how the country can move towards “a new normality.”

French prime minister Édouard Philippe will on Tuesday unveil a national strategy for easing the lockdown, while some “strategic” businesses can reopen this week in Italy, provided they receive clearance from local authorities.

READ MORE: UK retail are gearing up to reopen shops in lockdown-easing anticipation

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) was 1.7% in the green, while London’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was up by more than 1.6%. Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) rose by around 2.2%, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was up by around 1.7%.

The gains in Europe followed a strong trading session in Asia. China’s SSE Composite Index (^SSEC) rose by 0.25% on Monday and the Hang Seng (^HSI) was up by almost 1.9% in Hong Kong at market close.

What to expect in the US

Futures were also pointing to a higher open for US stocks on Monday.

S&P 500 futures (ES=F) rose by more than 0.5%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) rose by almost 0.8%, while Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were 0.9% in the green.