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We've already had a quick look at some companies reporting quarterly earnings next week. But there are a lot of FTSE 100 firms with first quarters ending in March, and a good number of them are due to report in the coming days. Here are three bringing us Q1 figures, all next Thursday:
Royal Dutch Shell
Valued at 140 billion pounds, Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB ) (NYSE: RDS-B ) is the biggest company in the FTSE -- and it might also be the cheapest. The Shell share price has gone nowhere over the past year, currently standing at 2,226 pence. And that is likely to be, in part at least, due to forecasts of falling earnings per share, or EPS, for this year, which follow on from a drop in reported earnings for 2012.
But those forecasts put the shares on a forward price to earnings, or P/E, ratio of only a little over eight, which is way below the long-term FTSE average of around 14. And there are dividends too -- last year, Shell provided shareholders with a 5.1% yield, and with a rise expected this year, City analysts are predicting 5.4%.
Those figures are in line with forecasts for BP -- but Shell doesn't have the worries still left to BP after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
A few of the big energy producers are reporting next week, with Thursday bringing first-quarter figures from BG Group (LSE: BG), too. Results for 2012, released in February, showed a 3% rise in earnings per share, and allowed the firm to lift its dividend by 10%, to 16.67 pence per share. At just 1.7%, that wasn't a great yield, but it was heading in the right direction.
Forecasts for this year are similar, with a further rise of about 10% expected. With the share price up a bit since the end of December, to 1,063 pence today, that gives us a similar yield of about 1.8%, with the shares on a forward P/E of 13.
Most analysts are recommending BG as a "Buy," and that must be at least partly in anticipation of a 20% earnings rise forecast for 2014 -- though forecasts that far ahead do need to be treated with caution.
The last of our trio for Thursday is RSA Insurance Group (LSE: RSA ) . The company's share price was riding high until the insurance group famously slashed its final dividend for 2012. The previously expected yield of around 7% did look unsustainable, but the cut shocked the market, and the shares slumped by nearly 15% on the day, to 117 pence -- and today, they're down further, at 113 pence.
Based on RSA's announcement that this year's dividend will be similarly cut, the payout for 2013 looks likely to come in around the 6.2 pence mark. That would still represent a healthy yield of about 5.5%, so further confirmation of where the rebased payment is likely to be will be welcome on Thursday.
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