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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.

How they fared: Shell reported over $5.3 billion in profits, a 42% rise from the same period last year.

  • "Our strong earnings this quarter were underpinned by higher oil and gas prices, the continued growth and very good performance of our integrated gas business, and improved profitability in our upstream business," said chief financial officer Jessica Uhl in announcing the results.
  • Per Reuters, it's their highest earnings in over three years.

France-based Total, meanwhile, reported a $2.9 billion haul, which is a 13% rise. Its combined oil and gas production reached a new quarterly record of 2.7 million barrels of oil-equivalent per day, thanks to ramping up projects like Russia's Yamal LNG project, as well as its acquisition of Maersk Oil.

Go deeper

2021 economy boomed at fastest rate in 37 years

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The U.S. economy surged ahead with a 6.9% annual growth rate in the final months of 2021 and achieved the strongest growth over an entire calendar year since 1984.

Driving the news: New GDP numbers from the Commerce Department show a remarkable acceleration in economic activity, much faster than the 5.3% growth rate analysts expected.

The Fed isn't the only problem investors are worried about

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Federal Reserve will be raising rates, just as the economy is slowing. The markets hate that.

Why it matters: The ugly start to the stock trading year doesn't just reflect Fed-induced agita — investors are also worried about a growth slowdown.

4 hours ago - Health

White House says Obamacare sign-ups hit record

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaking in the White House in December 2021. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The White House said Thursday that a record 14.5 million Americans have signed up for health insurance through Obamacare marketplaces since Nov. 1, including more than 10 million enrollments through HealthCare.gov.

Why it matters: Last year's stimulus bill contained substantial investments in the program, including increased subsidies for people who don't receive health insurance from an employer or through Medicare or Medicaid.