Reuters’ warning as customers cut back

Thomson Reuters forecast that revenue would be flat in 2014 and reported worse-than-expected fourth-quarter results, as financial customers in Europe and Asia cut back on spending and the legal business weakened in Latin America.

Shares of the global news and information company fell more than 5 per cent to a four-month low yesterday, as Wall Street analysts said it would likely take another year for the business to turn around.

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Thomson Reuters chief executive Jim Smith said headwinds at the end of 2013 were stronger than anticipated, and he expected financial markets to remain “challenged” for some time to come as the global banking system restructures. “It’s still a volatile time everywhere,” Smith said. “We did see more weakness in Europe and in Asia than we expected in the fourth quarter.”

The company reported a net loss of $343m in the quarter, compared with a net profit of $368m in the year-earlier period.