Quarterly numbers from Vodafone this morning proved disappointing for a number of reasons ranging from price pressures to handset financing. There were some glimmers of hope with a robust performance in Germany, but intense competition in India saw revenues in the country fall by almost a third. The business is continuing to push into the Internet of Things and critically margins are being maintained, but innovation will be the key if the company wants to remain infront.

Just a year ago, Unilever was battling off an unwanted takeover bid from Kraft-Heinz where attempts were being made to convince shareholders that a more aggressive management approach could deliver better value. This went against Unilever’s ethos and shareholders seemed supportive – we’ve seen some disposals and the company appears in good health with sales growth up and free cash flow improved, too. Margins have also been improved across the board – investors will it seems have something to applaud this morning.

More heavyweight results this morning from Royal Dutch Shell, where a recent focus on margin improvement has combined with rising oil prices to generate a healthy picture with regard to company performance. With a dramatically improved earnings per share figure over the previous year, investors will be closely following the Q1 results on April 26th to see how much of this translates into an improved dividend.

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Market Analyst, Monk Communications
1st February 2018
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