G.D.P. Report on Friday Morning: An Early Reading on 2018

G.D.P. Report on Friday Morning: An Early Reading on 2018 Photo Shipping containers at the Port of Long Beach, Calif., waiting for processing. President Trump imposed tariffs on allies and rivals alike, stoking fears of a growing trade war. That will be just one of many factors affecting first-quarter economic growth. Credit Bob Riha Jr/Reuters The economy has been whacked around like a pinball lately, by events both anticipated and not. The comprehensive revision of the tax code enacted in December shifted business incentives and started putting more money in workers’ paychecks. The stock market took investors on a vertiginous ride. President Trump imposed tariffs on allies and rivals alike, stoking fears of a growing trade war. Consumers expressed confidence, but restrained their spending.
How all these factors influenced economic growth will become clearer at 8:30 a.m. when the Commerce Department releases its initial estimate of gross domestic product for the first quarter.
Analyst..

RBS profits triple to £792m as taxpayer-owned bank continues recovery

Operating profit in the period rose 70 per cent to £1.21bn
Royal Bank of Scotland has reported a 206 per cent rise in first-quarter profit to £792m as the taxpayer-owned bank continues on its road to recovery.
The figure, well ahead of consensus forecasts, compares with a £259m profit in the same period in 2017.
It comes after the lender booked a bottom-line annual profit for the first time in a decade earlier this year.
Read more RBS job losses ‘inevitable’ with online investment, finance chief says Operating profit in the period rose 70 per cent to £1.21bn and chief executive Ross McEwan said the results are a sign of the progress the bank is making.
He added: “In the first three months of 2018, we made a pre-tax profit of £1.2bn, up 70 per cent on the same period last year. This contributed to a bottom-line profit in the period of £792m, exceeding the full-year 2017 profit we reported back in February.
“This is a good set of results, showing the progress we are making, desp..

UK economic growth collapses to just 0.1% in first quarter of 2018, new figures show

The UK economy almost stalled in the first quarter of 2018 growing by just 0.1 per cent, the Office for National Statistics reported on Friday.
This was down from the 0.4 per cent expansion registered in the final quarter of 2017 and well below the 0.3 per cent City of London analysts had expected.
The pound slumped in the wake of the data, dropping to $1.3804, down 0.8 per cent on the day, as traders bet against a May interest rate from the Bank of England due to the unexpected weakness of GDP.
The Bank had pencilled in a 0.3 per cent GDP expansion for Q1 in its most recent Inflation Report.
“Today’s disappointing data has all but ended any hopes for a May rate hike, with [Mark] Carney and his fellow Monetary Policy Commitee members surely now likely to stand pat and bide their time before tightening policy further,” said David Cheetham, of the online trading firm XTB.
The ONS reported that services, which account for 80 per cent of the economy, grew by 0.3 per cent in the three ..

Jeff Bezos' wealth jumps $12bn in one day as Amazon shares soar 10%

World’s richest man now worth more than $134bn thanks to his stake in the technology giant he founded in 1997
Jeff Bezos’ fortune soared by $12bn on Thursday thanks to Amazon’s exceptional results that beat Wall Street’s expectations.
Mr Bezos, already the world’s richest man is now worth more than $134bn (£96bn) thanks to his stake in the technology giant he founded in 1997. That puts him $43bn ahead of second-placed Bill Gates on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, fifth on the rich list, saw his wealth jump by $5.8bn on Thursday after the social network posted better-than-expected results. That came after $2bn dip on Tuesday.
Read more Surging Amazon revenue pushes shares to record high Amazon’s shares jumped more than 10 per cent on Thursday to a record high after the company revealed revenues were up 43 per cent year over year to $51bn (£36.6bn).
The company's cloud-computing unit Amazon Web Services also registered strong gains.
Mr Bez..

As Wetherspoons scraps Twitter and Facebook – is social media important for big brands?

Do we really need all these platforms to sell our wares? Or do they merely fill customers’ timelines with white noise? David Barnett talks to industry insiders
The prevailing wisdom is that if you’ve got something to sell, then social media is your shop window. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube… if your brand isn’t doing the business on these and a multitude of other platforms, then there’s a risk it’s not doing the business at all.
According to the latest number-crunching report from Brandwatch, which helps businesses understand social media, out of a global population of 7.6 billion there are 4.2 billion internet users. Of those, more than three billion are active on social media, and that number grew by 121 million between the second and third quarters of 2017 – equating to someone signing up for a social media account every 15 seconds.
Facebook has two billion users; Twitter 330 million; YouTube has 1.5 billion; Instagram 800 million. Even MySpace (kids, ask your..

Amazon’s Profit Swells to $1.6 Billion, Lifted by Its Cloud Business

Amazon’s Profit Swells to $1.6 Billion, Lifted by Its Cloud Business Photo Amazon’s revenue for the first quarter jumped 43 percent from a year earlier, rising to $51 billion from $35.7 billion in the same period last year. Credit Scott Olson/Getty Images SEATTLE — Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, long ago figured out how to keep Amazon’s sales figures shooting skyward. Now he is doing the same with profit.
The company, which once seemed to have only a passing interest in turning a profit, said its net income for the first quarter more than doubled. Although Amazon is best known as an internet shopping destination, its cloud computing and advertising businesses were big contributors to the jump in profit.
Mr. Bezos singled out the performance of the company’s cloud computing business — known as Amazon Web Services, or A.W.S. — referring in a statement to a “remarkable acceleration” in growth in the segment for a second consecutive quarter.
Amazon often boasts of its co..

UK consumer confidence 'stuck in doldrums', says survey

GfK’s main index fell back to -9 in the month, down from -7 in March
Measures of UK consumer confidence fell back in April, raising further doubts over the mettle of British shoppers and their ability to support growth in the wider economy.
Read more UK consumer confidence boosted by wage growth and Brexit progress UK consumer confidence drops to lowest level since Brexit result UK consumer confidence slips back in October ​GfK reported on Friday that its main index fell back to -9 in the month, down from -7 in March.
There was also an eye-catching fall in the measure of the public’s expectations for their personal financial situation over the next 12 months, which fell from 10 to 4, suggesting people are feeling less confident, despite the decline in inflation and wages that the Bank of England expects to underpin spending.
“Hope springs eternal for better numbers but the continued uncertain economic forecast means that the sun is not yet shining brightly for UK consumers,” said..

Microsoft posts better than expected financial results as revenue grows 16% in a year

CEO says results vindicate focus on cloud products
Microsoft reported steady growth in its latest round of financial results as the company's chief executive praised the performance of its cloud services.
The technology giant reported revenue of $26.8bn (£19.2bn), a 16 per cent increase on the same quarter last year.
The company's net income also rose 35 per cent to $7.4bn (£5.3bn).
Read more Microsoft women filed 238 discrimination and harassment complaints Tech Giants Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM Keep Their Heads in the Cloud Windows tool shows how much of your personal data Microsoft collects Chief executive Satya Nadella, who has overseen a shift in the firm's focus away from hardware such as smartphones and towards its software and cloud products such as Office 365, said the results reflected industry faith in the move.
“Our results this quarter reflect the trust people and organisations are placing in the Microsoft Cloud,” he said.
“We are innovating a..

Microsoft’s Cloud Has Business Booming Again

Microsoft’s Cloud Has Business Booming Again
Microsoft, more than any other traditional software company, has swiftly and profitably made the shift to delivering software as an internet service.
The technology giant reinforced how well is has made that transition on Thursday, when it reported strong gains in both profits and sales in its fiscal third quarter, led by the rapid growth of its cloud software business.
The company’s net income rose 35 percent from a year earlier, to $7.4 billion. Revenue rose 16 percent to $26.8 billion in the quarter, exceeding the Wall Street consensus forecast of nearly $25.8 billion.
Microsoft’s earnings per share increased 36 percent to 95 cents a share, well above the analysts’ average estimate of 85 cents a share, compiled by Thomson Reuters.

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Since Satya Nadella became chief executive in 2014, the cloud portion of Microsoft’s revenue has soared from 3 percent to more than 21 percent this year, accord..