Many of Britain’s traditional pubs are struggling to survive thanks to rising business rates, competition from supermarkets and a change of behaviour among consumers. Katie Gregory reports.
GE posts $10 billion loss, sales drop as power weakens
(Reuters) – General Electric Co ( GE.N ) forecast further weakening of its troubled power business on Wednesday as it reported a $10 billion loss and a 5-percent fall in revenue in the fourth quarter, driven by previously-announced charges for insurance losses and taxes. While the results contained no […]
LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar hit fresh lows on Wednesday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he welcomed its weakness and figures showed that the euro zone economy started the year at its strongest pace in over a decade. Fear of protectionism from the world’s largest economy had already pushed the greenback lower, but this move was given another push by Mnuchin’s remarks at the annual Davos summit of business and political leaders. Meanwhile euro zone businesses had a much better start to 2018 than anyone polled by Reuters expected, ramping up activity at the fastest rate since the middle of 2006, a survey showed on Wednesday.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Top U.S. cable provider Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O) adjusted quarterly profit exceeded analyst estimates on Wednesday, helped by more high-speed internet customers and greater theme-park revenue. Excluding the impact of a $12.7 billion one-time benefit following a U.S. tax overhaul signed into law in December, earnings per share were 49 cents, beating analyst estimates of 47 cents a share. The Philadelphia company also raised its quarterly dividend by 21 percent to 19 cents a share, and said it expects to buy back at least $5 billion of its stock this year.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm was hit with a 997 million euro ($1.23 billion) fine by EU antitrust regulators on Wednesday for paying Apple to only use its chips, blocking out rivals such as Intel. The European Commission said its investigation, launched in 2015, covered the period from 2011 to 2016 and took into account Qualcomm’s market dominance in LTE baseband chipsets, which enable rapid mobile broadband connections.
“Qualcomm paid billions of U.S. dollars to a key customer, Apple, so that it would not buy from rivals. These payments were not just reductions in price – they were made on the condition that Apple would exclusively use Qualcomm’s baseband chipsets in all its iPhones and iPads,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
WH Smith’s High Street sales have continued to fall, but the bookseller and stationer has had another rise in sales at its travel outlets. In the 20-week period to 20 January, sales in High Street stores were down 5%, with like-for-like sales falling by 4%, in line with expectations. The company said this was partly down to fewer spoof humour books being sold compared with the same time last year. However, total sales in travel were up 7%, with like-for-like sales rising 3%. Total sales were flat year-on-year and like-for-like sales down 1% over the 20-week period. Like-for-like sales, a common measure of retailers’ performance, strip out the effect of new store openings.
Stripe, the firm which helps more than 100,000 businesses do financial transactions online, is to scrap support for Bitcoin payments. It said Bitcoin users now saw the virtual currency largely as an “asset” to be traded, rather than something to make payments with. Fewer online merchants wanted to accept the cryptocurrency, it added. Rising fees and longer transaction times as a result of price fluctuations also lessened its appeal, Stripe said.
Customers of the US-based payments firm pay a fee to Stripe each time it processes a payment. Clients include Lyft, Deliveroo, Grab and Target. In 2014, it became the first major payments company to support Bitcoin payments. At the time Stripe said it hoped Bitcoin would become a way for people in places with low credit card penetration or prohibitively high credit card fees to do transactions online. But the virtual currency was now “better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange,” it said.