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

Merlin Entertainments

Half year numbers from Merlin [LON:MERL] , the theme park operator which is set to be taken over by private equity, shows something of a mixed bag. Visitor numbers are up 3% whilst revenues have added 8.1% but cost pressures have seen profitability eroded. The business continues to expand its global estate of attractions, including adding more lucrative hotel rooms. This division now accounts for 24% of all theme park revenues. The share price may have been a rollercoaster ride for those invested since the start, but it does seem as if its days as a listed company are now numbered. See the half year results here.

London Stock Exchange

Half year numbers from the London Stock Exchange [LON:LSE] are out today. Total revenues are up 7% and adjusted earnings per share are up 13%. Investors are being rewarded with an inflation busting 17% increase in the dividend and the outlook remains upbeat. Management expect further progress to be made in the second half of the year although with the share price having risen 15-fold since the end of the financial crisis, can the trajectory be maintained? See the half year results here.

Barclays

Upbeat news from Barclays [LON:BARC] this morning, with the company reporting its best H1 performance for a decade. Profits for the period are up 82%, costs are down and shareholders will benefit from a 20% increase in the dividend, showing renewed confidence in the bank’s outlook. See the half year results here

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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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