Shell profits fail to boost shares

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The FTSE 100 Index slipped 35.4 points to 5964.6 on opening

Royal Dutch Shell’s profits haul of £11.5 billion for 2010 has failed to win over the City after a disappointing fourth quarter performance.

Shares in the Anglo-Dutch giant slumped 3%, or 73.5p to 2177.5p, after tough downstream trading left earnings in the final three months of 2010 short of the 4.7 billion US dollars (£2.9 billion) anticipated in the City.

The pressure on the oil giant, which sparked a fall of 7.4p to 480.6p for rival BP, meant the FTSE 100 Index slipped 35.4 points to 5964.6 following a strong performance in recent days.

A busy session for corporate results saw BT Group top the risers board after third quarter profits lifted 30% on the back of a strong three months for broadband additions. Shares were 5.5p higher at 184p, a gain of 3%.

Elsewhere in the telecoms sector, Vodafone announced it expected full-year operating profits to be towards the upper end of the £11.8 billion to £12.2 billion forecast in November.

The company has been buoyed by strong smartphone and data usage in the UK, but shares failed to respond as the company dropped 1.2p to 175.9p.

Thomson holidays firm TUI Travel was another top flight faller, dropping 1.7p to 245.3p after it warned the political unrest in Egypt and Tunisia could hit earnings by up to £30 million.

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