Weekly Investment Update
26 July 2017 to 1 August 2017

Business News
Lloyds Banking Group has reported pre-tax half-year profits of £2.5bn, up 4% from last year. Barclays saw a £1.2bn loss over the same period due to costs around the sale of part of its African business. Meanwhile, pre-tax half-year profits at HSBC rose 5% to £7.8bn.

Profits at Facebook rose 71% to £3bn in Q2 with revenues up 45% to £7bn. Active monthly users now total over a quarter of the world’s population at two billion users, with two thirds of those daily users.

Twitter has seen its net losses grow to £88m in Q2 as revenues dipped by 5% to £434m. Amazon’s Q2 profits fell 77% to £151m as revenues across its retail and computing businesses totalled £29bn.

Annual pre-tax profits at broadcaster Sky fell to £1bn, with revenue up 10% to £13bn. The owner of the Discovery Channel, Discovery Communications, is buying rival Scripps Networks, who operate the Travel Channel and the Food Network, for £11bn.

British Airways owner, IAG, saw half-year operating profits rise 14% to £804m. Aircraft maker Airbus revealed Q2 profits fell 27% to £765m with revenues of £13.6bn. Elsewhere, Starbucks is to buyout its joint venture partner in China for £994m to take full ownership of all its chain outlets. The firm also announced net income for Q2 fell 8% to £523m.

Econominc News
The UK’s economic growth edged up to 0.3% in Q2, from 0.2% in Q1. The service sector, which grew by 8% during the second quarter, helped to offset the weaker performing construction and manufacturing sectors.

The rate of unemployment in the eurozone fell to 9.1% in June, its lowest level since February 2009; unemployment in 18 out of the 19 countries fell. Inflation remained at 1.3% in the eurozone in July.

The eurozone has seen its GDP growth climb to 0.6% in Q2; an annualised growth rate of 2.1%.

Spain’s economy grew by 0.9% in Q2 taking its economy back to the size it was before the financial crisis in 2008.

In the US, economic growth for Q2 grew at an annualised rate of 2.6%. However, the initial Q1 estimate of 1.4% was revised down to 1.2%.

A new record has been set for the highest amount paid for a single UK office building when the Walkie Talkie in London was sold to Hong Kong firm Lee Kum Kee for £1.28bn.

Courtesy of Legal & General
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