ASOS shares drop despite 27% half-year sales growth

The online retailer says it's investing in new infrastructure to meet rising demand
ASOS shares fell by 11 per cent on Wednesday morning despite seeing a healthy boost to half-year profits.
The online fashion retailer saw sales grow by 27 per cent in the six months ending February, with international sales growing by 31 per cent and UK sales up by 22 per cent.
The UK based company, notable for its appeal to young online shoppers, made a total of £1.15bn in the six month period, with UK retail sales accounting for £414m and sales from the rest of the world raking in £716.8m.
Read more Ultimo lingerie brand to cease trading in the UK Analyst Nicholas Hyett said the unusual sight of company shares falling after delivering strong growth was down to the firm’s inability to keep costs down.
“That the rapid growth isn’t delivering any meaningful margin benefits only adds to the frustration,” he said.
Mr Hyett added: “The ramp up of activity in Europe and creation of US infrastru..

Trinity Mirror and Express newspaper merger under investigation by competition watchdog

The deal between the two publishing firms has already completed
The UK’s competition regulator has opened an investigation into the merger of the Trinity Mirror group and the parent company of the Express and Star newspapers.
Trinity Mirror, which owns the Daily Mirror and hundreds of regional titles, bought the published assets of Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell, which includes the Daily and Sunday Express, for £126.7m in February.
Read more The Mirror and the Express: A marriage made in the finance department At the time, Trinity Mirror said the deal would “improve its print and digital editorial propositions by reducing duplication, sharing content and widening the breadth of editorial coverage with larger combined teams”.
On Wednesday, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had brought the merger, which has already completed, to the attention of the secretary of state for digital, culture, media & sport, because of concerns that the combination of the two c..

Tesco share price surges after it unveils 800% profit rise and resumes dividend

The supermarket said its turnaround strategy is 'firmly' on track
Sales and profits improved at Tesco last year, leading the supermarket to announce its first dividend in three years.
Operating profit increased by 80.6 per cent to £1.84bn from £1.02bn, while profit before tax was up 795 per cent at £1.3bn from £145m.
Group sales rose 2.3 per cent to £51bn from £49.9bn, as the supermarket added 260,000 more customers.
Read more Tesco and Morrisons fastest growing big supermarkets, data shows The company said it would pay a dividend of 3p per share, the first divi it has announced since embarking on a strict cost-cutting strategy in the wake of an accounting scandal almost four years ago.
Shares in the group rose as much as 3.9 per cent in early trading after the results were published on Wednesday.
In September 2014, Tesco admitted to a £250m overstatement of profits for the first half of that year, and UK supermarket watchdog later found that the group had been ..

Memo From Sarajevo: In a New Cold War With Russia, Balkans Become a Testing Ground

In a New Cold War With Russia, Balkans Become a Testing Ground
SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Cradle of the First World War, the Balkans have been a flashpoint, a place where empires, ethnicities and religions abut and contest. Now, analysts warn, the region is becoming a battleground in what feels like a new Cold War.
Russia, they say, is expanding its influence and magnifying ethnic tensions in countries that hope to join the European Union. Its involvement has already spurred Brussels to revive dormant aims for enlargement. It is also prompting fresh attention from Washington about security risks to NATO members.
After the concerted Western response to the poisoning in Britain of a former Russian spy and his daughter, which expelled around 150 Russian diplomats and intelligence officers, “the Balkans become even more important,” said Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague.
“Russia is looking for ways to retaliate that are asymme..

Facebook Fallout Deals Blow to Mercers’ Political Clout

Facebook Fallout Deals Blow to Mercers’ Political Clout Photo The conservative donor Robert Mercer invested $15 million in Cambridge Analytica, where his daughter Rebekah is a board member. Credit Patrick McMullan, via Getty Images Last month, a friend of the wealthy conservative donor Rebekah Mercer arrived at Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters. His task: Find out what — if anything — could repair relations between Facebook, the world’s biggest social media company, and Cambridge Analytica, the voter-profiling firm co-founded by her father and used by the Trump campaign.
The revelation last month that Cambridge Analytica improperly acquired the private Facebook data of millions of users has set off government inquiries in Washington and London, plunging Facebook into crisis. But it has also battered the nascent political network overseen by Ms. Mercer, 44, and financed by her father, Robert Mercer, 71, a hard-line conservative billionaire.
Ms. Mercer’s standing in Mr. Trump’s circ..

E.P.A. Assesses Threats on Twitter to Justify Pruitt’s Spending

E.P.A. Assesses Threats on Twitter to Justify Pruitt’s Spending Photo The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to justify Scott Pruitt’s extraordinary and costly security measures. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has been examining posts on Twitter and other social media about Scott Pruitt, the agency’s administrator, to justify his extraordinary and costly security measures, which have included first-class travel and full-time protection even on personal trips to Disneyland, the Rose Bowl and college basketball games, according to interviews and agency and congressional documents.
The social media efforts have come under scrutiny by some Democratic lawmakers, as well as senior officials at the E.P.A., who said the review had uncovered individuals sounding off against Mr. Pruitt but had found no actionable threats against him. One top E.P.A. official said in an interview that he had objected to the efforts when they were firs..

UK offices of Murdoch's 21st Century Fox raided as EU probes sports broadcasting 'cartel'

European Commission carries unannounced inspections of companies across continent amid investigation into 'suspected anti-competitive practices'
The London offices of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Networks have been raided by the European Commission as part of a continent-wide investigation into a possible sports broadcasting cartel.
Officials carried out “unannounced inspections” of companies in several countries over concerns the firms “may have violated EU antitrust rules”, the commission said.
Fox Networks Group (FNG), an operating unit of 21st Century Fox which distributes TV and cable channels around the world, said it was co-operating with the investigation after its offices in Hammersmith, west London, were raided.
Read more Murdoch takeover of Sky ‘not in the public interest’, watchdog finds The commission said the inspections were “a preliminary step into suspected anti-competitive practices”.
In a statement, it added: “The fact that the commission carries out such i..