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Markets are trading higher this morning after China continues to report encouraging data. A Chinese manufacturing gauge rose to an 18-month high in July, bolstering the government’s chances of meeting its 2014 economic-growth target of about 7.5%. The preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics was at 52.0, topping the 51.0 median estimate of analysts and June’s final 50.7 reading. Numbers above 50 indicate expansion.
Earning season is now well under way with the Euro Stoxx 50 and the S&P 500 up 2.6% and 7.5% respectively year-to-date. Blue Chip companies which reported results so far include Apple, Delta, PepsiCo, Facebook and EasyJet.
Apple shares rose 2.6% to $97.19 at the close in New York, leaving them up 21% this year. With bigger-screen handsets in development, Apple said yesterday that shoppers are delaying buying new iPhones, which will weigh on sales in the current quarter ending in September. Yet rather than dissuade buyers from procrastinating, Apple stoked anticipation for new devices on a conference call, with Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook talking about an “incredible pipeline” that “we can’t wait to show you,” and finance chief Luca Maestri declaring it would be a “very busy fall.”
Shares of Delta rallied after it posted results yesterday after it reassured investors about the traditionally strong second quarter. Delta also was optimistic about the current period, saying performance will be “even stronger” and projected operating margins to expand to as much as 17%. The shares rose 3.9% to $39.15 at the close in New York. They advanced 43% this year.
Shares of PepsiCo, which is second only to Coca-Cola Co. in the global beverage market, rose 1.9% to $90.82 at the close in New York. The stock has climbed 9.5% this year, compared with a 7.5% rise for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. PepsiCo Inc. reported better-than-projected profit and raised its annual forecast after reducing costs, giving the company more leverage in a looming fight with
activist investor Nelson Peltz.
Facebook shares are poised to reach a new high today after the social network topped its record close from March of $72.03 in extended trading. Fueling the rise: The company showed again that mobile advertisements are powering revenue and profit. Facebook yesterday posted second-quarter sales that surged 61% to $2.91 billion, exceeding analysts’ average estimate of $2.81 billion. Mobile promotions accounted for 62% of ad sales, up from 59% in the prior period. Net income more than doubled to $791 million, with profit excluding some items at 42 cents a share, above the projection of 32 cents.
EasyJet said annual earnings will gain at least 14% as Europe’s second-biggest low-cost airline adds capacity, pares costs and benefits from currency changes. Under McCall, the carrier has intensified efforts to lure business passengers, offering allocated seats, flexible tickets, fast-tracking and higher frequencies on key routes. EasyJet will offer 6.7 percent more seats in the six months through September compared with a year earlier, adding routes from key destinations like Amsterdam Schiphol and ramping up its presence at its biggest base at London Gatwick airport. Dublin-based Ryanair, Europe’s No. 1 low-cost carrier, will report first-quarter results July 28.
Good day and happy trading!
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