Accenture surpasses estimates for both revenues and earnings

Accenture released its 4th quarter results on Thursday, with the group surpassing estimates for both revenues and earnings. During the period, the group reported net revenues of $9.15bn, easily topping expectations of $9.01bn. This uptick was mainly attributable to an increase in revenue from its digital, cloud and security-related services. Despite the increase in revenue, net income for diluted earnings declined to $974.2mn, or $1.48 per share, down from the $1.12bn, or $1.68 per share, reported a year ago. This was still marginally higher than estimates of a drop to $1.47 per share.

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Bank of America continues share buybacks

Bank of America added 2.42% on Wednesday, buoyed by comments from its CEO, Brian Moynihan, who confirmed that the bank will continue to favour share buybacks over a dividend increase as its preferred method of returning cash to shareholders. This is partly due to the bank’s unwillingness to put itself in a position where it may have to reduce its dividend in the future. Regulators have made it clear to banks that their dividend payout should not exceed 30% of earnings. As it stands, Bank of America expects to return a total of $14.2bn to shareholders in 2017, sharply higher than the $6.6bn returned in 2016, with the majority of that stemming from share buybacks.

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Mixed results from Nike

Nike released a mixed set of results on Tuesday, with revenues narrowly missing expectations, but earnings surpassing estimates. In its fiscal first quarter, Nike produced revenue of $9.07bn, unchanged from the previous year but slightly lower than expectations of $9.08bn. Of this, revenue for the Nike brand stood at $8.6bn, an increase of 2% on a currency-neutral basis, while sales for Converse declined by 16% to $483mn. Overall, net income fell to $950mn, or 57 cents per share, down from the $1.25bn, or 73 cents per share, reported a year ago. Excluding certain items, Nike recorded earnings of 57 cents per share, easily beating analysts’ estimates of 48 cents per share.

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AIG restructures into three separate units

American International Group, or AIG, announced on Monday it will restructure itself into three separate units. This marks the first major strategic move by the group’s new CEO, Brian Duperreault, after the previous CEO, Peter Hancock, stepped down earlier this year. As a result, AIG will no longer have separate commercial and consumer businesses, but will have a general insurance business, a life and retirement unit as well as a stand-alone technology unit. According to analysts, the changes better align to how investors prefer to analyse the group. The move also places a greater focus on product underwriting, rather than on the group’s relationships with clients.

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Pallinghurst expects to report a loss of 139 cents

Pallinghurst released a trading statement for the period ended 30 June 2017 yesterday.  In it, the group advised shareholders it currently expects to report a loss and headline loss per share of 139 cents. This compares to the 67 cents recorded in the previous corresponding period. This slump is primarily due to a decline in the valuation of Pallinghurst’s investments, which are held at fair value. Furthermore, the group’s net asset value per share declined to 436 cents as at the 30th of June 2017, much lower than the 661 cents recorded at the end of 2016. PGL expects to release its results for the period on or around the 26th of September 2017.

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Worse-than-expected results for General Mills

On Wednesday, General Mills shed 5.8% to settle at $52.17 after it released worse-than-expected quarterly results. During the period, the group reported a 3.5% drop in net sales to $3.77bn, slightly lower than estimates of a decline to $3.79bn. This drop was mainly due to lower sales of its yogurts and a 7% decline in net sales in its US cereal operating unit. Overall, net income attributable to General Mills declined to $404.7mn, slightly lower than the $409mn recorded in the previous corresponding period. Despite the decline, on a per share basis, earnings increased by 2 cents to 69 cents. Excluding one-time items, General Mills earned 71 cents per share, missing expectations of 76 cents per share.

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FedEx misses estimates for both earnings and revenues

FedEx released its 1st quarter results on Tuesday, with the group missing estimates for both earnings and revenues. During the period, overall revenue increased to $15.3bn, up from the $14.7bn reported a year ago but slightly lower than expectations of $15.35bn. Meanwhile, the group’s earnings were negatively affected by a cyber-attack on its Dutch unit in June, which slashed $300mn, or 79 cents, from its quarterly profit. Excluding the impact of the cyber-attack, FedEx would have posted earnings per share of $3.32. Adjusted earnings per share declined to $2.51, down from the $2.82 recorded previously and sharply lower than estimates of $3.09.

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Boeing rises despite lawsuit concerns

Boeing added 1.64% on Monday to close at $253.08, helping to drag the Dow Jones higher. The increase comes in spite of comments from both Canada and the UK regarding Boeing’s lawsuit against Canadian-based Bombardier Aerospace. Both countries intimated they would dramatically scale back purchases from Boeing should it proceed with its case. Boeing claims Bombardier sold Delta Airlines 75 of its new C-Series planes for $19.6mn each, which was only made possible by the subsidies it receives from the Canadian government. Since then, the Canadian government has decided to halt the purchase of 18 Super Hornet fighter jets which it was in the process of acquiring from Boeing. Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that the country will not do business with a company currently in the process of suing it.

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Evercore upgrades Nvidia’s 12m target to $250/share

Nvidia surged 6.32% on Friday to settle at $180.11 per share, buoyed by the release of an extremely bullish research note by Evercore. In it, Evercore increased its 12 month target price on the stock from $180 per share to $250 per share. The upgrade was mainly based on the opinion Nvidia will benefit from its first mover advantage in creating an industry standard for AI systems that will be incredibly difficult to replicate. They highlighted Nvidia’s graphics processing units can also been used in artificial intelligence systems related to autonomous driving and deep learning. Nvidia has surged nearly 188% over the last year and around 69% in 2017 alone.

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Spire Healthcare under pressure

Spire Healthcare fell 18.62% on Thursday after it released a disappointing set of results with the group dropping as much as 25% early in the session. Spire, which is Britain’s second largest healthcare firm, recorded a 2.4% increase in first half revenue. However, Spire saw its profit for the six months ended 30 June 2017 slump by 75% to £8.9mn, sharply lower than the £35.7mn recorded in the previous corresponding period. This decline was mainly attributed to a legal settlement charge of £27.6mn, which relates to the actions of Ian Paterson. Paterson, who is a former breast surgeon, is currently facing jail-time for operating on patients that he wrongly diagnosed.

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