Financial News from AFP

  • Manchester United set £500 million revenue target AFP - 10 hours ago
    Manchester United set £500 million revenue target

    Manchester United expect to make more than £500 million ($719.5 million, 35.4 million euros) in the 2016 financial year, the club announced on Thursday, despite continued underperformance on the pitch. "Our strong commitment to investing in our squad, youth academy and the broader club are ultimately underpinned by our financial strength and the hard work and dedication of everyone at the club," said executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in a statement. Despite Woodward's upbeat message, uncertainty continues to swirl around United manager Louis van Gaal, who has battled speculation about his future for several months.

  • Yellen inspires fresh rout on global stock markets AFP - 11 hours ago
    Yellen inspires fresh rout on global stock markets

    World stocks slumped Thursday, gripped by another fierce sell-off after a warning by Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen over the global economy, while oil fell close to 12-year lows. New York's Dow Jones ...

  • N. Korea expels South Koreans from industrial zone, seizes assets AFP - 11 hours ago
    N. Korea expels South Koreans from industrial zone, seizes assets

    North Korea on Thursday expelled all South Koreans from the jointly run Kaesong industrial zone and placed it under military control, saying Seoul's earlier decision to shutter the complex had amounted to a "declaration of war". Pyongyang said it was seizing the assets of all the 124 South Korean companies operating factories in Kaesong, which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) across the border inside North Korea. In a key move, it also cut two key communication hotlines with Seoul, leaving authorities in the South scrambling to verify the status of up to 250 South Koreans believed to have been in Kaesong when the expulsion order was issued.

  • Coca-Cola stops making drinks at three Indian plants AFP - 11 hours ago
    Coca-Cola stops making drinks at three Indian plants

    Coca-Cola has halted manufacturing at three plants in India temporarily on lower sales, company officials said Thursday, as the US giant faces challenges from activists over alleged depletion of groundwater. Nearly 300 people work at the three plants in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Rajasthan, where activists have waged a more than decade-long battle against the fizzy drinks company. "Manufacturing at three units have been temporarily suspended," Kalyan Rajan, spokesman for Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, which bottles drinks in India for the US giant.

  • North Korea expels all South Koreans from joint industrial zone AFP - 11 hours ago
    North Korea expels all South Koreans from joint industrial zone

    North Korea on Thursday expelled all South Koreans from the jointly run Kaesong industrial zone and seized their factory assets, saying Seoul's earlier decision to shutter the complex had amounted to a "declaration of war". Pyongyang said it was placing Kaesong, which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) inside North Korea, under military control and cutting two key communication hotlines with Seoul. The measures mark a significant escalation of cross-border tensions that have been elevated since North Korea carried out a nuclear test last month and a long-range rocket launch on Sunday.

  • Adidas optimistic for year after beating 2015 targets AFP - 11 hours ago
    Adidas optimistic for year after beating 2015 targets

    Adidas said Thursday that it performed better than expected in 2015 and is confident for this year, even if the US market still appears to be something of an Achilles' heel for the German maker of sportshoes and equipment. Adidas is bringing in a new chief executive later this year as its tries to keep pace with Nike in the key US market. In 2015, group sales grew by 16 percent to 16.9 billion euros ($19 billion), driven primarily by double-digit growth in western Europe, China and Latin America as well as the Middle East, Asia and Africa region, Adidas said.

  • Coe 'won't accept' Nestle split with scandal-hit IAAF AFP - 11 hours ago
    Coe 'won't accept' Nestle split with scandal-hit IAAF

    World athletics chief Sebastian Coe on Wednesday angrily hit back at Nestle's move to terminate its sponsorship of the scandal-hit IAAF, insisting he will not accept the decision. It's the kids who will suffer," said International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Coe in a brief statement. "I confirm that we have decided to end our partnership with the IAAF Kids Athletics programme with immediate effect," Nestle spokeswoman Lydia Meziani told AFP in an email.

  • Zurich Insurance posts 'disappointing' 53% net profit plunge AFP - 12 hours ago
    Zurich Insurance posts 'disappointing' 53% net profit plunge

    Zurich Insurance on Thursday reported "disappointing" 2015 results hit by costs linked to the industrial disaster in Tianjin, China, and said thousands of jobs would be affected as it tries to rein in costs. Switzerland's largest insurance provider posted a net profit down 53 percent last year at $1.8 billion (1.6 billion euros). "This is a disappointing result," acknowledged company chief Tom de Swaan in the earnings release.

  • Sweden cuts key interest rate to record low AFP - 13 hours ago
    Sweden cuts key interest rate to record low

    Sweden's central bank on Thursday cut its key interest rate by 15 basis points to a new all-time low of -0.5 percent, citing the risk of slowing inflation and falling confidence in its monetary policy. "This increases the risk of weakening confidence in the inflation target and of inflation not rising towards the target as expected," it said. While the bank bases its monetary policy on an inflation target of 2.0 percent, it said it expected prices to rise by just 1.3 percent this year, lower than its previous forecast of 1.7 percent.

  • Paris, Frankfurt stocks markets dip more than 3 percent AFP - 13 hours ago
    Paris, Frankfurt stocks markets dip more than 3 percent

    Shares on the French and German stock exchanges fell sharply in early trading Thursday, dipping below three percent, over oil price worries and after Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen raised concerns about ...

  • Societe Generale 2015 net profit up almost 50% AFP - 14 hours ago
    Societe Generale 2015 net profit up almost 50%

    French bank Societe Generale on Thursday reported net profits rose almost 50 percent to 4.0 billion euros ($4.5 billion) in 2015, compared to a year earlier. The results beat analyst expectations, but ...

  • Asia markets suffer fresh rout as Hong Kong, dollar dive AFP - 14 hours ago
    Asia markets suffer fresh rout as Hong Kong, dollar dive

    Asian markets extended their rout and the dollar hit 15-month lows against the yen Thursday after Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen raised concerns about the global economy, essentially quashing the chances of another US rate hike any time soon. Hong Kong led a broad sell-off across the region, while an ongoing supply glut and production splurge saw oil prices sink below $27 a barrel. Dealers continued their flight to safe investments that has played out across trading floors from Asia to the Americas this week as they fret about a possible global recession.

  • Rio Tinto slumps into annual net loss as slowdown bites AFP - 14 hours ago
    Rio Tinto slumps into annual net loss as slowdown bites

    Rio Tinto on Thursday posted an annual net loss of US$866 million in what the world's number two miner said was a "highly challenging environment" as commodity prices plunge and a growth slowdown in key market China bites deep. The dire result compared with a US$6.53 billion net profit in 2014 and comes as markets -- particularly commodities -- are hammered by a collapse in global demand, chiefly from China where economic growth is at a 25-year low. The company, which is heavily reliant on iron ore, said it was dumping its progressive dividend policy, in which shareholders are given gradually higher payouts.

  • North Korea orders all South Koreans to leave Kaesong immediately AFP - 14 hours ago
    North Korea orders all South Koreans to leave Kaesong immediately

    North Korea on Thursday ordered all South Koreans to leave the jointly-run Kaesong industrial zone immediately and announced it was seizing all materials left in the complex. In a statement published by the official KCNA news agency, the committee said it was closing Kaesong and declaring it a military area. It also announced the cutting of all military communications with South Korea, including the main channel through the border truce village of Panmunjom.

  • Nokia profit fell in 2015 ahead of Alcatel-Lucent acquisition AFP - 14 hours ago
    Nokia profit fell in 2015 ahead of Alcatel-Lucent acquisition

    Finnish telecom equipment giant Nokia's net profit fell by 29 percent in 2015, to 2.45 billion euros ($2.8 billion) ahead of acquiring its French-American rival Alcatel-Lucent, the company said on Thursday. The drop was due to the 2014 results including 5.4 billion euros Nokia gained from selling its unprofitable handset unit to Microsoft. Nokia has just gone through two and half years of radical transformation.

  • Outrage and angst on inter-Korean border AFP - 15 hours ago
    Outrage and angst on inter-Korean border

    A sullen mood of anger and anxiety hung over scores of South Korean businessmen crossing the border Thursday into North Korea to save what they could of a decade-long investment. A day after Seoul announced it was shutting down the jointly run Kaesong industrial park, which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) inside North Korea, the heavy border traffic was almost exclusively in one direction... northwards. Given barely any notice of the government's decision, owners of the 124 companies operating factories in Kaesong dispatched trucks and managers to the complex in the early morning to start removing finished goods and equipment.

  • Thai Mad Men tugging on heartstrings with 'sadverts' AFP - 15 hours ago
    Thai Mad Men tugging on heartstrings with 'sadverts'

    Feverishly jotting down ideas in a funky glass-panelled conference room, Thailand's "Mad Men" are doing what they do best -- creating tearjerker adverts that leave viewers scrambling for the tissue box. An annual nostalgia-tinged Christmas commercial from retailer John Lewis has become a festive tradition in Britain, while Budweiser's Lost Dog pulled heart strings and swept advertising awards in the US. To outsiders Thailand advertises itself as the Land of Smiles, but its more emotionally complex than that.

  • Nokia profit fell in 2015 ahead of Alcatel-Lucent merger AFP - 15 hours ago
    Nokia profit fell in 2015 ahead of Alcatel-Lucent merger

    Finnish telecom giant Nokia's net profit fell by 29 percent in 2015, to 2.45 billion euros ($2.8 billion) ahead of acquiring its French-American rival Alcatel-Lucent, the company announced on Thursday. ...

  • Societe Generale 2015 net profit up almost 50% to 4 bn euros AFP - 16 hours ago
    Societe Generale 2015 net profit up almost 50% to 4 bn euros

    French bank Societe Generale on Thursday reported its net profit rose almost 50 percent to 4 billion euros in 2015, compared to a year earlier. The results beat analyst expectations, but the bank warned ...

  • Angry end to symbol of inter-Korean cooperation AFP - 17 hours ago
    Angry end to symbol of inter-Korean cooperation

    A stressful mix of anger and anxiety was the dominant feeling among scores of South Korean businessmen crossing the border Thursday into North Korea to oversee the death of a decade-long investment. A day after Seoul announced it was shutting down the jointly run Kaesong industrial park, which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) inside North Korea, the heavy border traffic was almost exclusively in one direction... northwards. Given barely any notice of the government's decision, owners of the 124 companies operating factories in Kaesong dispatched trucks and managers to the complex in the early morning to start organising an evacuation.

  • Spanish sun attracts tourists shunning attack-hit Mediterranean AFP - 17 hours ago
    Spanish sun attracts tourists shunning attack-hit Mediterranean

    It's low season and the sun in Barcelona shines only timidly, but Noel Sheehan's cycling tours are doing a roaring trade as holiday-makers shun their usual Mediterranean tourism hotspots after a spate of jihadist attacks. As the world's third tourism destination after France and the United States, Spain has already beaten records in the number of foreign visitors for three years in a row, and 2016 is expected to follow the same trend. "I've been doing this for 16 years and 2015 was our best year," Sheehan tells AFP in the office of his tour company, tucked away in a small, pedestrian alley in the picturesque Gothic quarter of this Mediterranean city -- the most visited in Spain.

  • US venture capitalist apologizes for India comment AFP - 19 hours ago
    US venture capitalist apologizes for India comment

    Star Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen apologized Wednesday for a tweet contending that anti-colonialism has been an economic disaster for India. The comment fired off from Andreessen's @pmarca Twitter handle came after India's telecom regulator dealt a blow to Facebook's plans to offer free mobile Internet through its controversial Free Basics service, by outlawing differential pricing for data packages. "I apologize for any offense caused by my earlier tweet about Indian history and politics," Andreessen said in one of a slew of messages from his account on Wednesday.

  • Hong Kong leads fresh Asia market sell-off AFP - 19 hours ago
    Hong Kong leads fresh Asia market sell-off

    Hong Kong stocks plunged more than four percent to a more than three-year low Thursday, leading another sell-off across Asian markets and extending a global rout fanned by worries over the world economy. Comments from Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen virtually confirming the bank will not lift interest rates next month put further pressure on the beleaguered dollar, while the ongoing supply glut saw oil prices sink below $27 a barrel. Dealers continued their flight to safe investments that has played out across trading floors from Asia to the Americas this week as they fret about a possible global recession.

  • Hong Kong stocks plunge more than 4% at open AFP - 20 hours ago
    Hong Kong stocks plunge more than 4% at open

    Hong Kong stocks plunged more than four percent soon after opening on Thursday, as dealers returned from a three-day holiday to play catch-up with a global market rout. The Hang Seng Index plunged 4.15 ...

  • Twitter woes deepen as user base fails to grow AFP - 21 hours ago
    Twitter woes deepen as user base fails to grow

    Twitter's woes deepened as the struggling messaging platform said it failed to add users in the past quarter, adding to concerns it is lagging in the fast-moving world of social networks. Twitter, which has never earned a profit, said its loss in the past quarter narrowed to $90.2 million from $125 million a year earlier, but the market was focused more on its user growth. Twitter shares dropped more than 3 percent in after-market trades that followed release of the report, extending a steep decline that has eroded some 75 percent of its value from peak levels.

  • European stocks lifted by banks; US stocks mixed AFP - 23 hours ago
    European stocks lifted by banks; US stocks mixed

    European stocks ended a three-day losing streak Wednesday as banking shares rallied, while US equities reacted indecisively to statements from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen highlighting elevated economic ...

  • Mylan offers to buy Swedish pharma firm Meda for $9.9 bn AFP - 23 hours ago
    Mylan offers to buy Swedish pharma firm Meda for $9.9 bn

    US pharmaceutical giant Mylan said Wednesday it has struck a $9.9 billon deal to buy Meda, capping two years of dogged pursuit of the Swedish drugmaker. Mylan, one of the world's leading generic drugs manufacturer, said the Meda acquisition would broaden and deepen its global reach and estimated pre-tax $350 million a year in operational savings.

  • Tesla ramps up sales, sets date for new model AFP - Wed, Feb 10, 2016 11:48 PM AEDT
    Tesla ramps up sales, sets date for new model

    Tesla said Wednesday its 2015 sales were up 51 percent as the electric carmaker reaffirmed plans for its new model that aims at a wider market. The California company led by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk said it sold 25,202 Model S vehicles in the year, up from 16,689 in 2014. Tesla, which is investing heavily in new vehicles and battery technology to drive the market for electric cars, reported a fourth quarter loss of $320 million on revenue of $1.2 billion.

  • Yellen warns of rising risks to US economy AFP - Wed, Feb 10, 2016 11:23 PM AEDT
    Yellen warns of rising risks to US economy

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen warned Wednesday that the US economy faced risks from tightening domestic financial conditions as well as global economic turmoil. Showing more pronounced concern over the economy than when she last spoke publicly, in December, Yellen's comments lessened the possibility of another interest rate increase in its next policy meeting in March. "Financial conditions in the United States have recently become less supportive of growth, with declines in broad measures of equity prices, higher borrowing rates for riskier borrowers, and a further appreciation of the dollar," she told the House Financial Services Committee.

  • Twitter logs losing quarter as user base stalls AFP - Wed, Feb 10, 2016 11:10 PM AEDT
    Twitter logs losing quarter as user base stalls

    Twitter said Wednesday its user base growth stalled at the end of last year, holding at 320 million, in a disappointing quarterly update for the struggling messaging platform. Twitter shares dropped some 2.4 percent in after-market trades that followed release of its latest earnings report. Twitter's monthly active user base, unchanged from the previous quarter, is being closely watched to see if it connecting with more people and keeping pace with other social networks.

  • Twitter user base stalls at 320 million AFP - Wed, Feb 10, 2016 10:53 PM AEDT
    Twitter user base stalls at 320 million

    Twitter said Wednesday its growth stalled at the end of last year, holding at 320 million active monthly users, in a disappointing quarterly update for the struggling messaging platform. Twitter shares ...

  • Qatar and Pakistan sign '$16 billion' gas deal AFP - Wed, Feb 10, 2016 10:47 PM AEDT
    Qatar and Pakistan sign '$16 billion' gas deal

    Qatar signed a long-term deal with Pakistan on Wednesday to export liquefied natural gas, according to state media in the Gulf. The deal will see Qatar export up to 3.75 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year, according to Pakistan's petroleum minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. This represents around 20 percent of the south Asian country's gas requirements.

  • Nestle terminates IAAF sponsorship over scandals AFP - Wed, Feb 10, 2016 10:42 PM AEDT
    Nestle terminates IAAF sponsorship over scandals

    Nestle has terminated a sponsorship programme with world athletics' governing body (IAAF) over fears that the corruption and doping scandals surrounding the sport could damage the company's reputation, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. "I confirm that we have decided to end our partnership with the IAAF Kids Athletics programme with immediate effect," Nestle spokeswoman Lydia Meziani told AFP in an email. "This decision was taken in light of negative publicity associated with allegations of corruption and doping in sport made against the IAAF," she added.

  • IMF threatens to cut Ukraine aid over corruption AFP - Wed, Feb 10, 2016 10:31 PM AEDT
    IMF threatens to cut Ukraine aid over corruption

    The International Monetary Fund threatened to cut crucial financial aid to cash-strapped Ukraine Wednesday because of the country's "slow progress" in fighting corruption. "Without a substantial new effort to invigorate governance reforms and fight corruption, it is hard to see how the IMF-supported program can continue and be successful," Christine Lagarde, the IMF managing director, said in a strongly worded statement. Lagarde's comments followed the shock resignation one week ago of Ukraine's reformist economy minister, Aivaras Abromavicius, in protest against alleged influence-peddling and state graft.

  • US oil prices slide for 5th straight session AFP - Wed, Feb 10, 2016 9:34 PM AEDT
    US oil prices slide for 5th straight session

    US oil prices fell for the fifth straight session Wednesday as US crude inventories remained at high levels and OPEC confirmed a significant rise in cartel production in January. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for March delivery fell 49 cents to $27.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil prices briefly rallied after a US Department of Energy report showed US oil stocks fell about 800,000 barrels for the week ending February 5.