Updates from Cable & Wireless, Catlin Group and Apple
A -1.06% slip for the FTSE 100 yesterday, finishing at 6,228. Burberry led the charge lower, down -6.50% while Compass Group saw its shares climb +1.83%.
The Dow Jones lost -0.30% to 13,944 points. Overnight, Asian stocks gained traction following encouraging Chinese trade numbers though the Nikkei fell, currently down -1.80% at 11,153.
First off this morning, an interim from Cable & Wireless. Group trading performance remains in line with company outlook. The strategy to refocus the group is "progressing well" with announced disposals of M&I and Macau. Data usage growing across portfolio with Panama mobile service revenues up 5%.
Mobile data revenue grew strongly across the Group during the third quarter driven by increasing smartphone adoption and usage, says C&W. The Bahamas is delivering "solid" progress in its financial performance together with much improved service and product offerings.
"Our decision," said the company in a statement this morning, "to accelerate customer focused efficiency investments in the Caribbean (excluding Bahamas) will increase our exceptional restructuring costs by around $20 million to a total of $55 million."
Next, specialist insurer Catlin Group. It has announced US$339 million profit before tax (2011: $71 million) for the full year and 14.6% return on net tangible assets (2011: 1.7%) plus 11.3% return on equity (2011: 1.3%). There's also a 10% increase in gross premiums written to US$4.97 billion (2011: US$4.51 billion).
The non-London/UK underwriting hubs continue to grow Catlin claims and accounts for 50% of gross premiums written. Market conditions for many classes of business are described as "good". Pricing for catastrophe-exposed business is at a high level, following rate increases in 2011 and 2012.
"Catlin performed well" said Group chairman John Barton, "during the year ended 31 December 2012, with a strong underwriting performance. Net underwriting contribution amounted to US$788 million, the highest in five years. The attritional loss ratio remained low at 50.6%, demonstrating the quality and discipline of our underwriting."
Lastly, Apple activist shareholder David Einhorn, a US fund manager, is claiming Apple should stop sitting on its massive £87bn cash pile and start returning cash to shareholders.
"It [Apple] has sort of a mentality of a depression," Einhorn told CNBC. "In other words, people who have gone through traumas ... and Apple has gone through a couple of traumas in its history, they sometimes feel like they can never have enough cash."
Since last September Apple's stock has lurched around -33% lower on worries about innovation growth. Currently Apple shares sell for around $468 (it remains the most valuable public company in the world.)