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Shell: misses expectations as earnings plunge 86%

( - Royal Dutch Shell reported over an 86% drop in quarterly profit on Thursday, well below analysts' estimates, blaming continued weakness in refining margins, due to lower demand in the wake of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shell's adjusted earnings came in at 393 million dollars in the fourth quarter, compared with the consensus of 597 million dollars and profit of over 2.9 billion dollars achieved the same time last year.

Shell's fourth-quarter oil and gas production fell 14% year-on-year, mainly due to OPEC+ curtailments, asset sales, higher maintenance, lower gas demand and hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil major added.

Analysts said the company's miss of the consensus mirrored the sector's earnings season to date, as rivals bp and ExxonMobil also reported worse-than-expected results.

However, Shell said it expected to grow its US dollar dividend per share by around 4% from the first quarter 2021.

The London-listed "A" shares rose 0.2% after the report, compared with a 0.4% rise in the STOXX Europe 600 Oil & Gas index. The "B" stock was up around 0.4%.

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