Mena News

 

  Jobless claims fall to a five-year low
Jan , 27 , 2013  
  First-time jobless claims in the US unexpectedly dropped to a new five-year low in the week ended January 19. Initial jobless claims slid by 5,000 to 330,000 from 335,000 recorded in the previous week. In contrast, the market had expected jobless claims to rise to 355,000.
 

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  Dubai Islamic Bank signs agreement with Emaar Properties
Jan , 27 , 2013  
  Dubai Islamic Bank signed an agreement with Emaar Properties to facilitate e-payments through mobile and online banking services, and Express Banking Terminals.
 

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  Nakheel reports 2012 results
Jan , 27 , 2013  
  Nakheel reported 57% YoY increase in net profit to USD550mn (AED2bn) for 2012. Revenues grew 91% YoY to AED7.8bn, led by a recovery in Dubai’s real estate sector.
 

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  Gulf Bank posts 2012 results
Jan , 27 , 2013  
  Kuwait’s Gulf Bank’s net profit grew 1% YoY to KWD30.9mn in 2012. The Board recommended a distribution of 5% bonus shares that was approved by the Central Bank of Kuwait.
 

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  Netflix enjoys best day ever on strong results, upgrades
Jan , 25 , 2013  
  With a gain of 42.2% at the closing bell, Netflix Inc. NFLX +0.36% rang up up its biggest one-day percentage rise in its history, according to data from FactSet. Buoyed by better-than-expected fourth-quarter results and a slew of analyst upgrades, Netflix handily eclipsed its earlier record gain of 35.8% on Oct. 10, 2002. Other big days for the stock include a 24.2% jump on Oct. 18, 2002 and a 23.7% rally on Jan. 28, 2010. Netflix has had plenty of terrible sessions in the market as well. On Oct. 15, 2004 it dropped 40.9% and on Oct 25, 2011, the stock fell 34.9%. Wall Street loves Netflix at the moment, reversing strong negative sentiment over the summer, when it fell 25% on July 25, 2012. Netflix held its initial public offering at a price $15 a share on May 23, 2002. The stock fell to $4.85 a share later that year, and jumped all the way up to nearly $263 a share on in June, 2011. Wrapping up its hefty run-up on Thursday at a price of $146.86 a share, the stock is now at its highest level since Sept., 2011.
 

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  Starbucks posts 13% higher profit
Jan , 25 , 2013  
  Starbucks Corp. SBUX +0.20% reported late Thursday its fiscal first-quarter profit rose to $432 million, or 57 cents a share, from $382 million, or 50 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 30 rose 11% to $3.8 billion from $3.44 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected the Seattle-based coffee giant to earn 57 cents a share on $3.85 billion in revenue. Starbucks stood by its fiscal 2013 revenue growth target of 10% to 13%. Starbucks shares fell 1.1% to $54.00 in after-hours trade.
 

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  Samsung hits record profit
Jan , 25 , 2013  
  --Samsung posts record high net profit on strong smartphone sales and higher margins in its chip business --Samsung estimated to have remained the largest seller of cellphones --Chip business saw a healthy jump in profitability in the fourth quarter (Adds breakdown of earnings figures for the company's four business units and comments from company statement.) SEOUL--Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE) on Friday said its fourth-quarter profit rose 76% to a record high on strong smartphone sales and higher margins in its chip business. Net profit was 7.04 trillion won, or $6.6 billion, up from 4.01 trillion won in the same period a year earlier and the record 6.56 trillion won set in the previous quarter. Revenue was 56.1 trillion won, up 18.5% from the year ago period. Samsung remained the largest seller of cellphones and smartphones in the quarter, analysts estimate, but it showed signs of being affected by the same leveling of growth in the business as seen in the results of Apple Inc. a day earlier. Samsung's overall growth momentum is faster than Apple's, however, and analysts expect it to stay that way for much of the year due to a larger mix of products. Samsung's largest business--cellphones and telecom equipment--accounted for 62% of operating profit in the fourth quarter. Analysts have forecast overall shipments of cellphones at 110 million and smartphones at 60 million in the quarter. By contrast, Apple said it sold 47.8 million iPhones in the same period. Samsung doesn't release details on the number of phones it sells in its earnings reports. Samsung's profit margin for cellphones fell to 17.4% in the fourth quarter, lower than the 18.8% marked in the previous quarter. And the pace of cellphone revenue growth continued to slide, as it has through the year. In the latest quarter, cellphone year-on-year revenue growth was 58%, down from 82% in the third quarter. Analysts expect lower margins for the telecom unit throughout 2013 due to price and profit compression as smartphones become more common throughout the world, and the company to rely more on chips for profit growth in 2013. Samsung saw a healthy jump in profitability in its chip division in the fourth quarter. Operating profit for the division was 14.8%, up from 11.7% in the third quarter and the highest margin of the year. The liquid-crystal-display business, the smallest among Samsung's four units, showed a sharp turnaround as panel prices stabilized and the company produced more displays using OLED, or organic light emitting diode, technology. The unit's operating margin was 14.3% up from 13.8% in the third quarter and an operating loss in the year ago period. The profit margin for Samsung's consumer electronics business rose to 5.3% in the fourth quarter from 3.4% in the previous quarter. Samsung said this year's capital expenditure will be "similar" to the 25 trillion won budgeted for 2012. "The weakening global economic recovery and looming market uncertainties are anticipated to weigh on plans for investment and performance this year," it said. The company finished the year with an annual record of 23.8 trillion won in net profit, beating its previous record of 16.2 trillion won set in 2010.
 

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  How Apple ate Wall Street
Jan , 25 , 2013  
  Mutual-fund investors aren’t supposed to have to pay attention to the fate of any particular stock. But like so many things with technology giant Apple Inc., the regular rules don’t seem to apply. While Apple’s stock has been hit hard in recent months — losing more than third of its value since September, including a 12% drop since missing earnings estimates on Wednesday — the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is still the most valuable name on the stock market. That distinction means it looms unusually large in millions of Americans’ investment portfolios, even if they’ve never glanced at one of its quarterly earnings reports. “We’ve never seen another company have as big an impact” on overall market returns, says Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Just how popular has Apple become? It was among the top 10 holdings in more than 1,000 mutual funds last year, according to fund researcher Morningstar Inc. — up from just 11 in 2002, shortly after Apple introduced the device that started the gadget craze, the iPod. Overall, about one in four stock funds owns Apple To be sure, that partly reflects Apple’s popularity with index funds. These vehicles — like Vanguard Total Stock Market VTSMX, which owned more than $6 billion of Apple shares at Dec. 31—merely buy stocks based on their market values. For those funds, Apple is automatically their largest holding. But many prominent actively managed funds, including Fidelity Contrafund FCNTX -0.33% —Apple made up 8.2% of its portfolio as of its most recently published figures — and T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth TRBCX -0.19% — 8.6% — are also big fans. While both those names have strong long-term track records, some fund managers were likely tempted to hold big stakes for the wrong reasons, according to experts. “You want to show you own a successful stock,” says Lipper analyst Jeff Tjornehoj. “It’s not easy to get rid of.” (A tool like Morningstar’s Instant X-Ray can tell you how much Apple you hold via your funds.) Now investors that rode the Apple bandwagon — and frankly everyone else too — is feeling the stock’s reverberation. The S&P 500 was up 13.8% last year. Apple, which at its peak amounted for about 5% of the index, added roughly a percentage point to that gain, according to S&P. Today the index was flat in early afternoon trading, and for the year so far it’s up 4.8%, but would have risen nearly 5.7% without Apple’s drag. Sliverblatt says the only stocks in his memory to take up such a big slice of the index were IBM and the old AT&T in the early 1980s, although he doesn’t remember their price swings having as big an impact on returns. “I didn’t see anything like this,” he say.
 

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  Australia’s inflation increases in fourth quarter
Jan , 23 , 2013  
  Australia’s consumer prices edged up 2.2% YoY in the fourth quarter of 2012, falling short of the market expectations of a rise to 2.4% YoY. On a quarterly basis, consumer prices expanded 0.2%, but remained below the market estimate of an increase to 0.4%.
 

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  Germany’s economic sentiment reaches a new high
Jan , 23 , 2013  
  In January, Germany's economic sentiment index surged to 31.5 from 6.9 in December, the highest level since May 2010. This index reading exceeded the market expectations of a rise to 12. At the same time, the current economic situation index also edged up 1.4 points to 7.1.
 

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