Updates from Lloyds, BSkyB and BG Group

Just a 10-point climb for the Big Board yesterday, ending at 6,780. Barratt Developments saw the biggest climb, up 5.18% to 369.50p while Shell came in behind, 3.66% up, at 2520p. In contrast, Tesco shares dipped - sharply - falling 3.41% to 292.95p. The biggest overall drop for the FTSE 100.

In the US, the Dow Jones climbed 45 points to 16,580 - close to an all-time high - marking a third day of straight gains. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
We start with Lloyds (still 33% owned by the taxpayer) with a first quarter update. Underlying profit increases 22 per cent to £1.8bn in the first quarter though underlying income of £4,529 million is down, by seven per cent.

The profits improvement was driven by net interest income in key markets plus a 5% costs cut. The Group made a statutory profit before tax of £1.369 million, compared to a statutory loss of £1.279 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The improved quarterly performance means Lloyds lifts guidance for the 2014 full year net interest margin at 2.40%, an increase of 10 basis points on previous guidance.

Next, nine month numbers from BSkyB. Operating profit is cut 8.5% to £910m while earnings per share dips 3.4% to 42.2p (from 43.7p). However revenues climb 6.6% to £5.666m.

For the last quarter Sky claims 64,000 new paid-for subscription products (2.4 million in year to date) with 74,000 net new TV customers, more than double growth in Q3 last year it claims.

"Our targeted advertising service, AdSmart," says chief exec Jeremy Darroch, "is attracting many new advertisers to Sky while our new Buy & Keep service in Sky Store opens up the DVD purchase marketplace for the first time."

Finally, a first quarter update from BG Group. Total operating profit slips 6% to $2009 million, reflecting reductions in both Upstream and LNG Shipping & Marketing segments. Higher revenues were offset by higher operating costs.

Total earnings for the first quarter of 2014 were $1102 million (32.4 cents per share) including a post-tax loss of $50 million from disposals.

"Group production volumes," says the company, "for the first quarter were consistent with anticipated seasonal phasing, although production entitlement from Egypt was lower than expected."

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