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Premarket London Update: Diageo Organic Sales Rise in H1

Investing.com - Here is a summary from the most important regulatory news releases from the London Stock Exchange ahead of the U.K. market open on Thursday 30 January. Please refresh for updates for U.K. market news from the LSE’s RNS on individual U.K. shares from FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and FTSE All-Share.

Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa)'s (LON:RDSa) profit slumped in the fourth quarter, raising doubts over the company’s ability to keep up with its share buyback program.

Our intention to complete the $25 billion share buyback programme is unchanged, but the pace remains subject to macro conditions and further debt reduction," CEO Ben van Beurden said in the company’s earnings release.

The company’s preferred measure of underlying profit fell to $2.93 billion dollars, while a net $2.06 billion in additional charges meant that reported net income fell to only $965 million. All of the company’s major divisions except LNG trading suffered declines in profit.

The biggest writedowns affected its north American shale gas portfolio, along with projects in Australia and Trinidad&Tobago. The writedowns were partially offset by gains on disposals of other assets.

BT Group (LON:BT) said its results for the third quarter were below expectations, but the financial outlook for the full year remained on track.

The telecoms group said its outlook for the year remained unchanged but would be in the lower half of expectations, between 1.9 billion pounds and 2.1 billion pounds.

BT said costs relating to regulation, competition and investment in products affected its overall revenue and profits. Profits were down 3% to 5.9 billion pounds as a result of 2% fall in revenue to 17.1 billion pounds.

"BT delivered results slightly below our expectations for the third quarter of the year, but we remain on track to meet our outlook for the full year”. said CEO Philip Jansen.

Diageo (LON:DGE) said organic sales grew 4.2% in the first half of its fiscal year ending in June, with growth reported across all geographic regions, with the U.S. growing 6%.

Underlying earnings per share also rose 4% but net income fell 6% on a combination of exchange rate, tax and other financial factors.

The drinks maker raised its dividend 5% to 27.41 pence a share.

Net inflows at asset manager St. James’s Place (LON:SJP) slowed down marginally in the fourth quarter, a development it blamed on “continued macro-economic and political uncertainty.”

Gross inflows were up fractionally from a year ago, but higher outflows left the net number down at 2.44 billion pounds, despite an 8% rise in the number of advisors.

The group said it had seen “improved investor sentiment and activity” since the General Election in December, which it said “gives us confidence that we are well placed to continue to grow.”

Foxtons Group (LON:FOXT)said revenue for the year was down 4% to 107 million pounds, citing political uncertainty in 2019 and a generally weaker sales market with ‘fierce’ competition that dented revenues.

The estate agents said the improved political situation following the general election could improve sales in 2020.

“Looking forward, with the uncertainty of the general election removed, early signs are that the sales market may improve during 2020 and our sales pipeline is ahead of last year” said CEO Nic Budden.

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