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


Full year results from Pearson [LON:PSON] are out this morning, with underlying revenues off by 10%. The COVID lockdown may have bolstered online learning but it has simultaneously shuttered assessment centres. Looking ahead however the company anticipates a stronger 2021, especially once the challenging comparatives of Q1 are overcome. Pent up testing demand stands to provide further support in H2. There’s a lot of detail in the report but with the stock still below pre-COVID levels, it may be worth a closer look.

Direct Line Insurance

There was a fairly stable set of results out from Direct Line [LON:DLG] this morning, with the company showing no real surprises over the year. Profits have been put under a little pressure after an increase in major weather costs, but COVID has reduced claim frequency. Overall, the company notes the pandemic has had a net positive impact on the numbers, whilst the capital position remains robust. As a result of this, another meaningful dividend has been declared along with a £100m share buyback scheme.

Shoe Zone

Full year numbers from Shoe Zone [LON:SHOE] make for an interesting read. The company is perhaps one retailer that will continue to benefit from always having a physical presence, given the uncertainties in fitting shoes and also the weight vs price, especially at the cheaper end of the market. The pandemic has however taken a toll, with revenues falling by almost a quarter for the year to October 3rd 2020. The previous year’s £6.7m profit has slipped to a £14.6m loss, resulting in a suspension of the dividend, whilst rolling store closures over the last five months mean that a return to profitability seen as is unlikely before October 2022.

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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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