The Motley Fool

Why Royal Dutch Shell Plc, William Hill plc and FirstGroup plc Should Lag The FTSE 100 Today

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) hasn’t really moved so far today, standing just a point up from yesterday’s close at 6,816 as I write — today’s profit warning from Shell put the dampers on any optimism we might otherwise have had from what is looking like a fairly solid Christmas trading period.

Which shares are depressing the market today? Here are three:

5 Stocks For Trying To Build Wealth After 50

Markets around the world are reeling from the coronavirus pandemic… and with so many great companies trading at what look to be ‘discount-bin’ prices, now could be the time for savvy investors to snap up some potential bargains.

But whether you’re a newbie investor or a seasoned pro, deciding which stocks to add to your shopping list can be a daunting prospect during such unprecedented times.

Fortunately, The Motley Fool UK analyst team have short-listed five companies that they believe STILL boast significant long-term growth prospects despite the global upheaval…

We’re sharing the names in a special FREE investing report that you can download today. And if you’re 50 or over, we believe these stocks could be a great fit for any well-diversified portfolio.

Click here to claim your free copy now!

Royal Dutch Shell

Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB) shares dipped 74p (3.2%) in early trading, to 2,232p, after the oil giant warned us that figures for the fourth quarter of 2013 are “expected to be significantly lower than recent levels of profitability“. Shell blamed current prices for oil and gas and pointed to weak markets for downstream products and higher exploration costs.

Earnings for the final quarter, to be announced on 30 January, should come in at around $2.2bn (on a current cost of supplies basis) with full-year earnings of about $16.8bn.

Shell shares are now only a couple of percent up over the past 12 months, lagging the FTSE’s 13%. The dividend for the full year had been forecast to yield 4.8%, but that might be affected now.

William Hill

Bookmaker William Hill (LSE: WMH) gave us a fourth-quarter trading update, and its share price dropped 11.8p (3.2%) to 391p in response — even though the quarter was described as “a strong end to the year“.

In online business, total net revenue gained 14% compared to the equivalent 13 weeks of 2012, with Sportsbook net revenue up 30%. Total retail net revenue was also up, by 13%. The full year saw overall group revenue up 18% on a 52-week basis, and operating profit should be around £334m.


In a third-quarter interim statement this morning, FirstGroup (LSE: FGP) told us of “Overall trading in line with management’s expectations”, but it seems the market’s expectations were higher — the share price fell 3p (2.2%) to 140p in response.

UK Rail operations, which provide around 40% of FirstGroup’s turnover, apparently put in a strong quarter with “volume growth across all our franchises“. But that awful “challenging” word was used to describe the market conditions facing First Student, with cost savings being a key part of the firm’s ongoing recovery plan — but revenue should still be broadly in line with last year.

The FirstGroup share price has now recovered more than 50% from the summer’s lows, after the share price collapsed in response to last year’s final results.

One Killer Stock For The Cybersecurity Surge

Cybersecurity is surging, with experts predicting that the cybersecurity market will reach US$366 billion by 2028more than double what it is today!

And with that kind of growth, this North American company stands to be the biggest winner.

Because their patented “self-repairing” technology is changing the cybersecurity landscape as we know it…

We think it has the potential to become the next famous tech success story.

In fact, we think it could become as big… or even BIGGER than Shopify.

Click here to see how you can uncover the name of this North American stock that’s taking over Silicon Valley, one device at a time…

> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.

Our 6 'Best Buys Now' Shares

Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.

So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we're offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our 'no quibbles' 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee.

Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this.