Better-than-expected third quarter earnings boosted Apple overnight, lifting its stock to a $159 intraday high. The news, including sales of 41m smartphones in Apple’s traditionally slowest quarter, helped propel the Dow Jones past 22,000.
Apple also brushed aside concerns about the release of its new iPhone 8 range though an exact release date wasn’t confirmed.
Elsewhere a new survey from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) claims the UK economy will pick up in 2018. “2017 will mark the trough for GDP growth. Thereafter, we envisage a modest recovery that takes economic growth to a level that is close to potential.”
The NIESR also bought forward its estimate of when the Bank of England will hike rates “from the second quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2018”.
The euro was up 0.19% to $1.1825 while sterling had barely moved at $1.3205. Against the euro the pound was trading at €1.1168 (7am). This morning there’s a CIPS/Markit Construction PMI report at 8.30am, likely to still be looking ‘soft’ (the index was down in June).
- UK FTSE 100 7,423.66 +0.70%
- Dow 21,963.92 +0.33%
- S&P 500 2,476.35 +0.24%
- Nasdaq 6,362.94 +0.23%
- Nikkei 225 20,098.54 +0.56%
- DAX 12,251.29 +1.10%
- CAC 40 5,127.03 +0.65%
- Gold 1,271.80 -0.59%
- Oil WTI 48.72 -0.90%
BAE sales flying high; William Hill revenues up
We start with a stronger first half for BAE Systems with sales up to £9,565m compared to £8,714m this time last year; underlying earnings come in at £945m compared to £849m a year ago.
“With the expected improvement in the defence budget outlook in a number of our markets,” said CEO Charles Woodburn, “the Group is well placed to continue to generate good returns for shareholders."
Underlying earnings per share are predicted to be 5%-10% higher for 2017 but BAE warns of some softening from its Cyber & Intelligence business.
A quick squint at the bookies: William Hill says revenues for the first half of 2017 rose 3% to £837m though adjusted operating profits dip 1% to £129.5m. Adjusted earnings per share however climbs 7% to 11.2p.
“In retail,” says Hill, “we made market share gains, with growth in both sports betting, despite the lack of a major international football tournament, and gaming revenues. Internationally, our US business continues to perform well.”
Smurfit Kappa earnings climb; US auto sales slow
Packaging FTSE 100 player Smurfit Kappa says revenues for the half year are up 5% to €4,233m compared to €4,049m a year ago. Second quarter earnings arrived at €292m while the interim dividend climbs 5% to 23.1 cent per share.
“Our capital structure, our asset base and our integrated business model continue to strengthen,” says CEO Tony Smurfit. “This will enhance our ability to translate today’s market conditions into improved earnings in 2017 and beyond.”
Elsewhere the US has reported a sharp fall in vehicle sales – a mixture of slower demand generally plus slower demand on the fleet side. Annual car and truck sales slipped to 16.73m vehicles compared to 17.8m this time last year, claims Autodata Corp.
The news saw shares fall 3.5% for GM and 2.5% for Ford; some players, including Nissan and Hyundai are attempting to put less reliance on rental volumes to protect profit margins.
Breaking news: Asda reports a 5.7% slip in like-for-like sales with profits slumping close to 19%.