Mena News

 

  Arab Bank’s H1 net profit jumps 7.5% to $387mln
Jul , 29 , 2013  
  Jordan's Arab Bank reported first-half net profit up 7.5 % to $387 million on a year ago and officials said the full-year outcome would be boosted by much lower provisions compared with a year ago, along with steady growth in net operating income, Gulf Daily News reported. Both those trends would improve the bank's bottom line, officials said after a first half in which the lender benefited from an upturn in the oil-producing Gulf region, where it has a strong presence. "The bank is capitalising on strong growth opportunities in the Gulf region," said bank chairman Sabih Masri. Bank officials say the wave of political unrest across the region since 2011 would continue to affect business, but a diversified regional and global portfolio helped reduce risks. Arab Bank is one of the Arab world's largest privately owned banks, with more than 20pc owned by the family of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005. The remainder is mainly held by other long-term investors. Masri said the bank's latest results showed Arab Bank's "strong performance reflected the bank's ability to deal with a challenging environment in the region and to grow in its core markets."
 

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  Markets speculate change in US intertest rates
Jul , 29 , 2013  
  The Federal Reserve is on track to keep its USD 85 billion-a-month bond-buying program in place at its next policy meeting. Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, has been stating since May that the central bank expects to begin winding down its bond-buying program later this year, if the economy strengthens. Accordingly, the Fed intends to keep short-term interest rates near zero at least until the jobless rate drops to 6.5% or unless inflation rises to a 2.5%. While good economic numbers from the Eurozone and the United Kingdom boosted confidence in their respective economies, pushing their currencies higher, the USD is being pressured, as speculation arises ahead of the Fed meeting on the 31st of this month. The Euro started the week on a positive note, opening at 1.3143, as worse than expected housing data in the US is putting pressure on the US Dollar. The single currency then rose to 1.3218 against its American counterpart. The Euro continued its climb against the US Dollar, after a report showed that manufacturing in the 17-nation currency bloc expanded in July, encouraging demand for the region’s assets. The market then reversed its trend, as the US Dollar gains on a rise in US yields, pushing the Euro down to 1.3165. The Euro then regained its losses and hiked all the way to 1.3297 after solid economic data that showed that manufacturing output in the Euro-area unexpectedly risen, supported by a strong consumer confidence figures from the area’s biggest economy, Germany. The single currency closed the week at 1.3279. Cable opened the week at 1.5267, only to rise after Prime Minister David Cameron stated that “an improving economy might allow the government to cut taxes,” pushing the Pound to 1.5386. The Sterling Pound then collapsed against the US Dollar, in coherence with the Euro as US Yields rise. The Pound fell to touch a low of 1.5264 on Thursday, as GDP figures met estimates. The British Pound then rallied to a high of 1.5435, aided by a weaker USD that was overwhelmed by strong manufacturing data from the Eurozone. Cable closed the week at 1.5382. The JPY opened the week at 100.65, strengthening against a weaker US Dollar at the beginning of the week. The Japanese Yen rose against most major peers after Japan’s ruling party failed to win an independent majority in upper-house elections. The Japanese Yen dropped from 100.50 per US Dollar, to 99.60. Shinzo Abe’s victory in the elections to the upper house of parliament opened a window for him to deliver on promises for structural reforms, stating that these steps will revive the country’s economy. The Japanese Yen continued to strengthen against the USD on speculation that the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will not rush to increase interest rates after the US central bank winds down its bond-buying stimulus program. The Japanese Yen closed the week at 98.21. The Swiss Franc strengthened against a weakening US Dollar on Thursday. The CHF opened the week at 0.9411, strengthening to a low of 0.9270 against the USD on Friday. The Swiss Franc closed the week at 0.9284.
 

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  Total profit climbs 67% to $3.3 bln
Jul , 29 , 2013  
  French oil group Total reported a 67.0-percent boost to net profit in the second quarter to 2.5 billion euros ($3.3 billion), but said on Friday this was driven mainly by special factors. The group also reported the biggest increase in production of hydrocarbons for three years. Excluding non-recurrent items, net profit fell by 3.0 percent to 2.7 billion euros. But this non-recurrent outcome was slightly higher than the figure of 2.67 billion euros expected by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires. The special factors covered exceptional gains and a favorable effect of stock valuations. The fall of the underlying profit figure reflected a fall in oil prices on a 12-month basis, although the setback to the results was less than the decline of the oil price. The average price of Brent quality North Sea oil fell by 5.0 percent between the two comparable periods, from $108 to $102. The group also reported figures showing that it had withstood pressures in the refining and distribution chains, even though refining margins in Europe fell by 40 percent in the quarter. The theoretical calculation by the group of margins for the sector in Europe fell to $24.1 per tonne of refined crude oil from $38.2 12 months earlier. The key feature of the group's performance in the quarter was the expected rise of production of hydrocarbons after more than a year of falling output. In the quarter, production rose by 1.3 percent to 2.29 million barrels per day, in line with estimates by analysts. This was the biggest increase since 2010. The group, which has set a target to produce 3.0 million barrels per day in 2017, did not change its outlook for the production of oil and gas while awaiting the annual revision of prospects, due in September, according to Arab News.
 

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  Apple’s profit down 22% to $6.9 bln in Q3
Jul , 28 , 2013  
  Apple's sales of older, less expensive iPhones climbed in its latest quarter, highlighting the challenges facing the world's most valuable technology company as it tries to reverse a recent decline in its earnings and prove that it can still innovate. The results topped the projections of analysts who steer the way investors tend to react to financial reports. Apple's shares still remain down more than 35 percent since the latest model of the iPhone came out 10 months ago. The downturn largely reflects the intensifying competition in the smartphone and tablet computer markets. Apple defined and then dominated those markets for several years to propel the company into a hyper-growth phase that enthralled Wall Street. But there are now signs that Apple's once seemingly irrepressible growth is stalling as rivals such as Google Inc., Samsung Electronics and Amazon.com Inc. make inroads largely by undercutting Apple's prices. The competitive pressure has prompted Apple to sell older models of its iPhones at prices below the newest model and introduce a smaller, less expensive version of its iPad. The impact of that shift can be seen in Apple's fiscal third quarter, a three-month period ending in June. It marked the second straight quarter that Apple Inc.'s earnings have fallen from the previous year after a decade of steadily rising profits. The company earned $6.9 billion, or $7.47 per share, in its fiscal third quarter, a 22 percent drop from $8.8 billion, or $9.32 per share. The earnings topped the average estimate of $7.31 per share among analysts surveyed by FactSet, according to Arab News.
 

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  Credit Suisse profit rises 33%
Jul , 28 , 2013  
  Credit Suisse Group AG on Thursday posted a 33% gain in profit, as the Swiss banking giant cut costs and continued to see positive signs from its scaled-down investment bank. Pretax income more than doubled at Credit Suisse's investment bank, offset by a decrease in profit from its business of private banking for wealthy clients. In the wake of the financial crisis, Credit Suisse has scaled back some of the more aggressive elements of its investment bank and dealt with a relatively strict regulatory regime in its home country. Roughly one year ago, the Swiss central bank singled out Credit Suisse as needing to better bolster its defenses against possible future losses, and the bank has since shed businesses, raised more capital and slashed costs. Zurich-based Credit Suisse said its Tier 1 capital ratio, an indicator of higher-quality capital held in order to protect against potential losses, increased to 15.3% under international regulations known as Basel III that are being phased in worldwide. Meanwhile, the bank said it remains on track to cut costs by 4.4 billion francs ($4.7 billion) by the end of 2015. The bank's number of full-time employees fell to 46,300 in the second quarter from 48,200 in the same period last year. Overall, Credit Suisse said net profit in the period ended in June rose to 1.05 billion francs from 788 million francs in the period a year earlier. Net revenues rose to 7 billion francs from 6.3 billion francs. Return on equity for the period was 10.1%, the bank said. Pretax income at Credit Suisse's investment bank jumped to 754 million francs from 314 million francs, while net revenues at the unit rose 24% to 3.4 billion francs. Including a provision related to a recent tax treaty between Switzerland and the U.K., Credit Suisse's business of private banking for wealthy clients saw a pretax profit of 917 million francs, down 6% from the period a year earlier. Credit Suisse and its hometown rival UBS AG , as massive banks that play an outsized role in the Swiss economy, are under constant pressure to reduce risk by holding a stable amount of capital in relation to their risk-adjusted assets. Credit Suisse has scaled down investment banking operations, retreating from certain businesses related to the U.S. mortgage market and from positions in so-called correlation trading, where banks trade in derivatives linked to debt, according to MarketWatch
 

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  Visa posts $1.2bln net income for Q3-13
Jul , 28 , 2013  
  Visa Inc. reported today its financial results for the third quarter of 2013 ended June 30, 2013. Net income for the quarter was $1.2 billion or $1.88 per share, an increase of 16% and 20%, respectively, over the prior year adjusted results. The prior year results were adjusted to exclude a litigation provision of $4.1 billion and related tax benefits associated with the Multidistrict Litigation proceedings taken in the fiscal third quarter of 2012. All references to earnings per share assume fully-diluted class A share count unless otherwise noted. The Company's adjusted quarterly net income per share of class A common stock is a non-GAAP financial measure that is reconciled to its most directly comparable GAAP measure in the accompanying financial tables. Net operating revenue in the fiscal third quarter of 2013 was $3.0 billion, an increase of 17% over the prior year, driven by strong growth in service revenues, data processing revenues and international transaction revenues. "Visa delivered solid financial performance during our fiscal third quarter and we remain confident in delivering our guidance for fiscal year 2013," said Charlie Scharf, Chief Executive Officer of Visa Inc. "We remain committed and focused on our long-term strategic goal of supporting our issuers, acquirers, merchants and government partners through flexibility and innovation in electronic payments. We are accelerating opportunities to expand our network through mobile, eCommerce and data-driven solutions, while continuing to deliver value to our shareholders."
 

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  US new home sales surge to five-year high
Jul , 25 , 2013  
  New home sales in the US rose 8.3% to 497,000 in June from 459,000 (revised) in May. The market expected the sales to come in at 481,000 vis-ŕ-vis the originally reported figure of 476,000 for May.
 

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  Barwa Bank reports 1H13 results
Jul , 25 , 2013  
  Qatar-based Barwa Bank’s net profit surged 85%YoY to QAR303.6mn in 1H13.
 

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  Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank reports 2Q13 results
Jul , 25 , 2013  
  Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank’s net profit advanced 15.1%YoY to AED371.4mn in 2Q13.
 

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  U.S. existing home sales decline
Jul , 23 , 2013  
  Existing home sales in the U.S. declined more than expected in June. Home sales fell 1.2%YoY (seasonally adjusted basis) to 5.08mn from 5.14mn in May. The market expected a rise to 5.25mn.
 

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