The Business: Wednesday April 16 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Tesco has reported a 6% fall in full-year group trading profit of £3.3bn, as it continues to lose market share to rivals. The slump is not as bad as analysts had predicted: several had forecast a fall of up to 10% to £3bn. However, it is the second year in a row in which the supermarket has announced falling profits. Tesco said its like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of new store openings, also fell by 1.4%.
Starbucks has promised to pay more tax in the UK, reports The Times. The world’s largest coffee shop chain has decided to relocate its European head office from the Netherlands to the UK. The company’s new president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Kris Engskov, said that the retailer had found itself in an “uncomfortable spot” over its tax affairs, adding: “Over time we will pay more tax in the UK and pay slightly less in the Netherlands.”
Netflix suffered a fall of more than 1.5% despite a wider turnaround on the Nasdaq last night. The broadcast streaming group, which enjoyed success thanks to Kevin Spacey’s political series House of Cards, lost $5.31 to close at $326.27 — a dramatic fall after it peaked at $458 last month. In contrast, other tech companies bounced back. Facebook was 0.34% higher at $59.09, while Google rose 0.64% to $548.70.
The boss of Debenhams claims he does not know why sportswear magnate Mike Ashley has snapped up a stake in the department store chain. Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct, unexpectedly bought a 4.6% holding in Debenhams shortly after it was forced to issue a profit warning in January. He has since bought 11% of Debenhams’ rival House of Fraser. Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp insists he is in the dark over Ashley’s motive.
“We’ve all met business people who genuinely believe that their companies are better off when all prices are rising – but they are wrong. So it is good news that the silent thief – as inflation has also been dubbed – is losing its ability to pick our pockets.” Allister Heath is glad to see the back of inflation.
The global volume of fizzy drinks Coca-Cola sells has fallen for the first time in 15 years, says the company. Sales fell by 1% in the first quarter of the year, with the drop particularly pronounced in the UK, with sales in Great Britain falling by more than 10%. However, overall, the volume of drinks sold around the world rose by 2%, with sales of noncarbonated drinks, such as Powerade, offsetting the fall elsewhere.
FTSE-100: down -0.64 to 6541.61
Dow Jones: up +0.55 to 16262.56
Dax: down -1.77 to 9173.71
Cac-40: down -0.89 to 4345.35
Nikkei: up +2.66 to 14369.22
Hang Seng: up +0.62 to 22811.60
US dollar: buys €0.72310 and £0.59760
Sterling: buys $1.67320 and €1.21010
Oil: $109.30 up +0.2