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Three Quick Facts: Shell, Reach and Next

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

#1. Shell Q1 earnings up 3x

Oil giant Shell [LON:SHEL] has published Q1 numbers today, showing a significant uptick in profitability for the company. Adjusted earnings were close on treble the number posted a year ago and up 43% on the Q4 reading, Net debt continues to decline and now sits below $50billion, whilst investors are being rewarded with a 4% increase in dividends. The previously announced share buyback program is ongoing, with a further $4.5billion set to be completed before the publication of Q2 results.

#2. Publisher Reach faces cost headwinds

There’s a trading update out from news publisher Reach [LON:RCH] this morning covering the four months to 24th April ahead of its AGM today. Group revenues are down 0.9% following higher than expected circulation revenues against a weaker digital contribution, but the company expects the full year picture to remain broadly flat. It believes it has a winning strategy for the longer term, although short/medium term cost impacts on lines like newsprint are also exceeding previous expectations.

#3. Next full price sales up, helped by store reopenings

Fashion and homewares retailer Next [LON:NXT] issued a trading statement for the 13 weeks to 30th April, noting that full price sales were up 21.3% versus last year whilst full year profit forecasts remain at £850m, which would be up 3.3% from the prior period. Beyond the raw numbers here, plus an update on buybacks, there’s no discussion of the impact of price hikes as we saw with peers yesterday – will the forecast 5% EPS growth be sufficient to allay concerns here?

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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