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

JD Sports Fashion

Half year numbers from JD Sports [LON:JD] have seen revenues surge by almost 50%, although a sharp increase in exceptional items and translation to new accounting principles has left profits close to unchanged from a year ago. Net cash has however grown significantly and with the dividend uptick only being modest, management are clearly keen to conserve this capital. The company is keen to stress that it’s the technical accounting change which is weighing on profitability and without this, full year numbers would be heading for the top end of forecasts. As it stands now, expectations are for something in the middle of the £402-£424m range to be achieved.

888

Online gambling firm 888 [LON:888] has published half year numbers this morning, showing continued strategic progress and a record revenue performance for the period. Despite broad macroeconomic uncertainty, UK revenues performed well, up 23% on a like for like basis. Dividends are however being trimmed, reflecting the lack of some exceptional gains seen a year ago and a decline in EPS. Brexit continues to cast a shadow over the company too, with operations in Gibraltar servicing the EU seen as posing something of a risk for the business outlook.

Ashtead Group

Bumper Q1 numbers from plant leasing firm Ashtead [LON:AHT] this morning, with revenues up 16% and earnings per share up by 12%. Margins are being maintained with operating profits up by 16% too, with the bulk of the upside continuing to come from the North American Sunbelt operation.  Clearly the company is exposed to any slowdown in the US economy, but for now, with EPS up a healthy 12%, the company shows no signs of slowing yet.

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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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