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Shell and Total profits jump amid higher oil prices

Photo: Ben Stanstall/AFP/Getty Images

Oil and gas giants Shell and Total, two of the world's largest energy companies, both reported a big jump in first quarter profits on Thursday.

Why it matters: The earnings show the fruits of the oil price recovery in recent months — with prices now around their highest levels in over three years thanks to lower global stockpiles, geopolitical tensions and other forces.