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Three things you need to know in the financial markets this morning from investment writer, Tony Cross.

Ashtead Group

Quarterly numbers from Ashtead Group [LON:AHT] have been published this morning, covering the period to October 31st. The pandemic has depressed trading levels, although the company’s emergency response efforts have limited the downside here, both in terms of assisting the with the healthcare crisis as well as involvement in other emergencies such as storms and wildfires, notably in the US. As a result, revenues for the period across the group are a mere 1% lower. Pre-tax profits are off by 7% but the company notes that in light of H1 performance and assuming no further adverse impact on the business, full year numbers will be better than indicated previously.

Mears Group

There’s a trading update from Mears [LON:MER] out, ahead of its financial year end. The company notes that activity levels continue to improve as clients cautiously extended the scope of work which was deemed permissible, reaching 79% in Q3. With COVID restrictions likely to remain in place for some time yet, near term forecasting remains difficult but as normality returns, there’s an expectation that more normalised levels of activity will return. Indeed the challenge for Mears could be ensuring it is in a position to mop up any backlog of works once we are through the worst of the pandemic.

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Begbies Traynor

Insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor [LON:BEG] have interims for the six months to October 31st out today, too. Revenues are up by 11%, helping lift operating margins to 14.6%, although interestingly the company notes that government support packages served to subdue the insolvency market. Expectations here however are that activity will pick up as this targeted backing is removed and the full year figures should be at least in line with the current market consensus.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Tony Cross

Tony Cross

Tony Cross is a market commentator with over 15 years of experience, producing compelling, insightful copy for journalists and investors alike. Focusing on macroeconomics, UK blue chip equities and inter market analysis, Cross's commentary is well regarded for its clarity and ability to cut through the waffle. He has been quoted in publications as diverse as The Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian and The Sun. He has also been a regular guest on both Share Radio and TipTV.

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