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Today's Top Market Headlines – Jul 20, 2017
Cloud services lift SAP sales but costs tether profit growth

Newer cloud services powered a rise in second-quarter revenue at Germany’s SAP but higher costs curbed profit growth, results from Europe’s most valuable technology firm showed on Thursday.

Core profits excluding special items rose 3 percent to 1.57 billion euros at constant currency rates, shy of the 1.59 billion expected by analysts.

Revenue of 5.78 billion euros ($6.65 billion) was up 10.4 percent and topped the 5.71 billion expected by analysts polled by Reuters.


By Eric Auchard

Source: http://bit.ly/2tJfewn

BOJ pushes back inflation target for sixth time, keeps policy steady

The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Thursday but again pushed back the timing for achieving its inflation target, reinforcing expectations it will lag well behind other major central banks in scaling back its massive stimulus programme.

With robust exports and private consumption pointing to a steady though modest recovery, the Japanese central bank slightly raised its growth forecasts and offered a more upbeat view of the world’s third-largest economy than last month.

But stubbornly weak price growth forced the BOJ to cut its inflation forecasts, underscoring the challenges the central bank faces as it tries to reflate the economy and coax consumers to spend more.


By Leika Kihara and Tetsushi Kajimoto

Source: http://bit.ly/2vEKVbe

EasyJet caution on pricing overshadows profit upgrade

Cautious comments by British budget airline easyJet (LON:EZJ) on the outlook for summer pricing hit its shares and those of rival airlines on Thursday, overshadowing an increased profit target.

The airline, which is seeking a replacement for CEO Carolyn McCall who is joining broadcaster ITV (LON:ITV), said revenues per seat were up 2.2 percent in its third quarter but expected yields to remain under pressure into its next financial year.

It said it expected full-year profit before tax to be in the range of 380 million to 420 million pounds ($495 million-$547 million), above a company-supplied analyst consensus for 380 million pounds.


By Alistair Smout

Source: http://bit.ly/2thourX

Unilever lifts margin target after first-half improvement

Unilever (LON:ULVR) lifted its full-year margin target on Thursday after seeing a big improvement in the first half, underlying its ability to boost returns as an independent firm after rebuffing a $143 billion (109.82 billion pounds) takeover bid earlier this year.

The Anglo-Dutch conglomerate whose products range from Hellmann’s mayonnaise to Dove soap said it expected underlying operating margin to grow by at least 100 basis points this year. Its previous target was at least 80 basis points.

The company’s profit margins became an area of investor scrutiny when February’s aborted takeover bid from Kraft Heinz forced Unilever into a deep business review aimed at improving performance on its own.


By Martinne Geller

Source: http://bit.ly/2ub8c5a