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FTSE 100 live: Shares expected to bounce back, Shell beats forecasts

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Proactive Investors – Shell PLC (LON:SHEL) has unveiled a new $3.5 billion share buyback as it reported higher first-quarter profits and cash flow than expected.

Adjusted earnings from the oil supermajor came in at $7.7 billion for the first three months of 2024, which was down 10% year over year but up 6% from the final quarter of 2023 and better than the $6.25 billion average analyst forecast.

Compared with the fourth quarter of last year, income was boosted by lower operating costs, higher margins from crude and oil trading, and higher refining margins, partly offset by lower LNG trading margins and tax movements.

Adjusted earnings per share of $1.20 were likewise down 5% on a year ago, but beat the City consensus of $0.97.

The business generated $9.8 billion of free cash flow, up from $6.9 billion in Q4, while net debt was reduced to $40.5 billion from $43.5 billion.

Having completed the $3.5 billion share buyback announced at its last results, the company announced another of the same size that is expected to be completed by the time of half-year results.

For the second quarter, adjusted earnings are expected to be a net expense (a loss in other words) of about $400-600 million, and a around $1.7-2.3 billion for the full year 2024. This excludes the impact of currency exchange rate and fair value accounting effects.

The FTSE 100 is expected to bounce back with a strong start on Thursday after last night’s US Federal Reserve meeting saw a mixed market reaction.

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Spread-betters are calling London’s blue-chip index up 35 points, after it finished down 22.89 points at 8,121.24.

Overnight, following the Fed decision not to raise rates but to announce a tapering of other tightening measures was followed by US stock indices first spiking higher before then mostly falling into losses.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed the session down by 0.3%, while the Dow Jones finished up 0.2% and Treasury yields fell.

“Fed Chair Jerome Powell argued in his post-FOMC press conference that, despite the stickiness of inflation in recent months, additional interest rate hikes were still ‘unlikely’,” said Capital Economics’ Paul Ashworth.

“Moreover, while he admitted that the strong start to the year means it will ‘likely to take longer to gain the confidence’ that inflation was moving down to a sustained 2% pace, he was careful not to rule out rate cuts later this year either.”

This morning in London we have results from Shell, Melrose, Hiscox (LON:HSX), Reach, Smurfit Kappa (LON:SKG), Spectris (LON:SXS) and Standard Chartered (LON:STAN).

A quick look shows Shell’s earnings of $1.20 per shares is above the $0.97 consensus forecast.

Read more on Proactive Investors UK

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