Market report

Shell posts improved profits as protests mount


Petrol-price-2022-06-07 shell

Shell has posted better than expected first quarter profits as it faces a group of major investors demanding the company implements stronger action against climate change.

The energy firm said its main profit measure came in at $7.7bn (£6.14bn) over the first three months of the year – more than $1bn higher than analysts had forecast but down on the $9.7bn achieved in the same period last year.

Shell said the performance were a result of strong oil trading and higher refining margins and said it would reward investors with a further $3.5bn share buyback.

The dividend was also maintained at the same level seen over the final quarter of 2023.

A group of shareholders with a combined 5% holding are attempting to force the company into tighter climate targets.

A resolution, led by activist shareholder Follow This, will be on the agenda at Shell’s annual general meeting on 23 May. Signatories include Amundi, Axa IM and Scottish Widows.

Shell’s shares closed up 1.9%.


Housebuilders recover

Housebuilders recovered some of their losses from Wednesday as Taylor Wimpey added 3.25p, or 2.4%, to 133.75p; Persimmon climbed 17p, or 1.3%, to 1306p. Barratt Developments advanced 6.25p, or 1.4%, to 460.25p.


For sale, sold, homes, housing, property

US holds rates as UK homes in on first cut

The US Federal Reserve held interest rates steady at 5.25% to 5.5%, their highest level in two decades, as persistent inflationary pressures contrast with the trend in the UK.

Price and wage growth in the UK is forecast to continue falling and analysts expect the Bank of England to instigate the first interest rate cut in June. The Bank’s monetary policy committee meets next week to consider its next move.

Further softening in the economy was indicated by an unexpected fall in UK house prices in April for a second consecutive month, according to the building society Nationwide, as interest rate uncertainty and more expensive mortgages put a dampener on the traditional spring homebuying season.

The average house price in April was £261,962 – down by 0.4% on March, when the lender’s monthly index recorded a 0.2% month-on-month drop.

A typical UK home is now worth £11,700 less than it was in August 2022, weeks before Liz Truss’s mini-budget prompted financial chaos.


Reach

Group revenue at Reach, owner of the Daily Record, Express and a host of regional newspapers, fell by 6.7% in the first quarter. Digital revenue was down 8.5% and print fell 6%.

However, investors were positive on its prospects and the absence of nasty surprises and shares rose 6.75p, or 9%, to 81p as it said it was on track to meet full-year expectations.

Full story here



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