- Investment company Mercantile Investment Trust posted a negative annual performance but increased its dividend after tapping some of its revenue reserves.

The company's total return on net assets for the year through January, with debt calculated at par value, was negative 6.1%.

That compared to a negative 5.1% return on the company's benchmark, which it said pointed to a significant rally from lows earlier in the year.

Mercantile Investment Trust declared dividends for the full year of 6.7p per share, up 1.5% year-on-year, having accessed revenue reserves in a year where dividend income from investments fell.

Noting the discount in its share price compared to its net asset value, the company said it would recommend that powers to repurchase up to 14.99% of its shares be renewed at its forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

'The advent of vaccines for Covid-19 combined with the Brexit deal towards the end of 2020 have provided much needed fillips to weary investors and to consumer confidence,' chairman Angus Lennox said.

'The direction of travel is overwhelmingly positive but there will be some bumps along the way whether it be as a result of trade deal tensions, vaccine supply or the unquestionable strains the pandemic has put on the economy and public finances.'

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