Investment & Business News Headlines

GSK and Astra profits jump

It was a good quarter from the pharmaceutical giants, with GlaxoSmithKline and Astra Zeneca both announcing a big jump in profits last week. Profits at GSK were up £200mn to £1.25bn. Its asthma drug, Advair, enjoyed a wheezing free period, with sales up 20%, while sales of its diabetes treatment Avandia/Avandamet increased 22 per cent.

Meanwhile AstraZeneca too saw a sharp jump in profits rising to $1.23mn from $1.14bn. Its two big drugs- Seroquel and Nexium both saw a big lift in sales. But the market has got doubts. The...Read More

BT takes on Google

The digital lawn has become less clear cut. Time was that BSkyB was a TV broadcaster, BT a telecom company and Google a search engine. This month has seen announcements from BSkyB that it’s moving into BT territory, offering broadband internet access, and unbundling BT from the local loop as...Read More

Posted Oct 31, 2005

UK’s borrowers feel the pinch

The latest figures on mortgage repossessions make grim reading- but while they are bad- they are not that bad- and we are nowhere near the levels seen in the early ’90s.

According to the Department of Constitutional Affairs, 29,991 mortgage repossessions were entered in the third quarter of this year. That’s...Read More

Posted Oct 27, 2005

Chinese economy set to double

By 2010, the Chinese economy is likely to be twice its size at the turn of the millennium. The Chinese government says that it needs to grow by an average of just 5.6% per year for the rest of this decade for this to happen and yet expects growth of...Read More

Posted Oct 26, 2005

Poker faced France tries to stem trade tide

French president, Jacques Chirac, decided the best form of defence is attack last week, as he came out firing on all cylinders, determined to save the EU’s unpopular Common Agriculture Policy, and attempted to turn the tables on the US and UK.

In a recent interview with Figaro he said that...Read More

Posted Oct 31, 2005

Profits fall at Amazon

While all the other bell weather tech stocks see profits soar, Amazon is looking like a mature company now- and perhaps all shareholders can look forward to is single digit growth.

In fact profit in the last quarter was actually down 44% to $30mn. In fairness, this was largely due to...Read More

Posted Oct 26, 2005

BP on course for best year ever - but can it last?

There was a sting in the tail of the latest quarterly profits from BP. But while it might spell bad news for shareholders, the rest of us should be whooping with joy.

Yesterday the company announced that third quarter profits and the replacement profits (that’s the measure the markets seem to...Read More

Posted Oct 26, 2005

KPMG see rise in fees

Red tape – is that a good thing or a bad thing? Maybe if you are a consultancy it’s good- because your clients need you to sort out the mess all the more. Certainly it’s been a good spell for the UK’s top accountants. Of the big four, fees are...Read More

Posted Oct 25, 2005

Advertising set for growth in emerging markets

How can this be? In 2005, Brazil, Russia, China and India are collectively expected to contribute 16% of the world’s growth in GDP, and yet they will account for 27% of the global growth in advertising expenditure. Or so says a new report from ZenithOptimedia.

According to the report, global...Read More

Posted Oct 25, 2005

Fed’s new chairman says what he thinks

If being good at spelling is a key quality required for governing the US Federal Bank, then you know the next chairman will be a good one. For Dr Ben Bernanke, the man who is set to replace Alan Greenspan as the worlՉ۪s top banker in January was the champion...Read More

Posted Oct 25, 2005

Heineken. ads no longer refresh the parts

There was a time when we used to fret over the amount of time our younger adults spent watching TV. These days it’s the advertising industry’s turn to fret. Take Heineken. The core target audience for its advertising is the 18 – 26 age group, and now it’s having to...Read More

Posted Oct 24, 2005

It’s twice a record: Shell and Exxon both break all time profit records

Records are made to be broken, but twice in one day – that’s going some. But that’s what Shell and then Exxon Mobil managed last week – leading to inevitable calls for windfall tax on both sides of the Atlantic, but in an imaginative defence, the world’s largest oil company...Read More

Posted Oct 31, 2005

Next generation TV: the war heats up

Last week BSkyB thought it served an ace. First it announced a £1bn war chest for funding its move into telephony, to be partially spent on local loop unbundling – effectively removing BT’s infrastructure from its telecom offering. Then it announced its purchase of Easynet.

But yesterday, BT returned the serve,...Read More

Posted Oct 27, 2005

King gives interest rate warning

With all the talk about retail malaise, another group of commentators have been speculating that we could be in for an increase in the rate of interest soon. But Bank of England governor, Mervyn King, appeared to dampen speculation yesterday, when he told a House of Lords committee that “a...Read More

Posted Oct 26, 2005

UK plc: the comeback kid

The UK could be making a return to the G8 fast lane next year, with the latest report from BDO Stoy Hayward suggesting that the economy should grow at the annual rate of 3% by the second quarter of next year.

It’s the service sector that is leading the UK...Read More

Posted Oct 30, 2005

Ericsson ends era for Marconi

When Harold Wilson talked about Britain being “forged in the white heat of a technologic (the scientific and technological) revolution,” no doubt, he expected one of the main providers of that white heat to be the General Electric Company, or GEC. At the time, it was after all Britain’s...Read More

Posted Oct 26, 2005

Is the halo slipping at Apple?

Is the halo slipping at Apple? There have been a growing number of media reports criticising the new Apple Nano, suggesting its gets scratched too easily. Now the issue could be decided in court. Jason Tomcza, a early purchaser of the Nano, didn’t merely suffer the tragedy of one scratched...Read More

Posted Oct 25, 2005

Britain’s wealthiest man Lakshmi Mittal wins reality TV’s biggest ever auction

When Russia sold off state assets a shroud of mystery surrounded the dealings. No one seems to know, except for the man concerned presumably, how all those Russian Oligarths made their money – but in the Ukraine the government is determined to do things differently. Under the leadership of Viktor...Read More

Posted Oct 25, 2005

House prices dip again in October - recovery predicted for next year

It was the 15th monthly drop in succession, and according to Hometrack house prices have fallen 3.7% over the last year to an average of £160,990, from £167,000 at peak in June 2004. Overall, the fall for October reported by Hometrack was 0.1%, the third month in a row that...Read More

Posted Oct 24, 2005

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