Weekly Investment Update
16 August 2017 to 22 August 2017

Business News
Owner of DIY chain B&Q, Kingfisher, reported a 1.9% dip in its Q2 like-for-like sales to £3.1bn. Meanwhile, Homebase owner Bunnings reported a £54m annual loss.

Amazon has revealed plans to open a new warehouse near Bristol in 2018 which should create 1,000 jobs, taking its UK workforce to 24,000. China’s online retailer Alibaba reported Q2 profits climbed 94% to £1.7bn.

Chinese computer maker Lenovo has posted its first quarterly loss for two years. The firm reported a £56m loss with revenues flat at £5.5bn.

French energy firm Total has struck a £5.8bn deal to buy the oil business from Danish logistics and transportation company Maersk. Persimmon has reported a 30% rise in half-year profits to £457m. The housebuilder said its average selling price was up 4% to £213,262.

Mining firm BHP Billiton has reported annual net profits of £4.6bn, a dramatic turnaround following a net loss of £5bn last year. The company also confirmed it would look to sell its US shale oil and gas business on which it took a £5bn writedown last year.

A US court has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay £323m to a woman who said she developed ovarian cancer from using its products.

Econominc News
The UK’s unemployment rate fell to 4.4% in the three months to June; its lowest level since 1975 as the number of
people out of work dropped by 57,000.

Retail sales in the UK increased in July by 0.3% from June, however June’s retail sales figures were revised down from 0.6% to 0.3%.

The government saw a surplus of £200m in July. The first time since 2002 a July surplus has been recorded. July and January are traditionally good months for tax receipts due to income from self-assessment taxes.

New research has shown that one in 10 adults in the UK either has bought or inherited a second home, whilst four in 10 adults own no property at all.

The UK exported a record value of food and drink in the first half of 2017 rising 8.5% to £10bn; exports of salmon leapt by 53%, to £408m. Following a cyclone in Madagascar the price of vanilla pods has grown to all-time highs of
$600 per kilogramme. Back in 2015 the price was as low as $100 for the same quantity.

Courtesy of Legal & General
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