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

Royal Bank of Scotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland [LON:RBS] published its Q3 trading update today, covering the tail end of the PPI claims window. Higher than anticipated applications here plus a challenging period for the NatWest Markets division left the company sporting a pre-tax operating loss of £8m against profits of £961m for the same period a year earlier. Given PPI claims alone took a £900m toll on the numbers, investors may however be willing to see the upside here although increased consumer lending as the economy slows could give fresh cause for concern. The full year outlook remains unchanged.

Shoe Zone

Shoe Zone [LON:SHOE] has published a full year trading update, showing a performance in line with company’s revised expectations. Revenues were slightly ahead of the position a year ago despite challenging trading conditions, although the company has seen its cash balance eroded. Net store expansion continues and there’s no special dividend being declared. Investors may struggle to get excited about this.

AJ Bell

Investment platform AJ Bell [LON:AJB] has delivered a year end trading update today, too. Headline figures look impressive, with customer numbers up almost 20% and assets under administration having risen by 16%. The company cites consumer desires to take more control over their own financial destiny as being a driver for further growth and also notes its high level of customer retention – something that will likely be scrutinised across the investment industry in the coming years.

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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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