FTSE 100 Live: Apple & Amazon beat expectations, US recession odds higher – Evening Standard

S giants Amazon and Apple posted results with revenue growth that beat analyst expectations.
The US has entered the widely-accepted technical definition of recession, according to data out today from the Commerce Department.
Shell and British Gas owner Centrica today reported substantial profit increases after benefiting from the surge in commodity prices, while Covid vaccine maker Pfizer broke records in the US.
Second quarter earnings at Shell hit a record $11.47 billion (£9.4 billion), double last year’s level and prompting the oil giant to buy back another $6 billion ($4.9 billion) of shares in addition to the $8.5 billion completed in the first half.
Inflation across the Eurozone soared to a record high this month as energy prices, inflation and the cost of living squeeze continue to wreak economic havoc.
The leap in consumer prices across the 19 countries that share the Euro as a common currency jumped from 8.9% in July up from 8.6% in the previous month.
Inflationary pressure shows no sign of loosening its grip as Russia threatens to downgrade gas supplies to several European countries including European economic engine driver Germany that has been hit by cuts in supply from the Nordstream 1 pipeline and is now thought to be teetering on the brink of recession.
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Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca claimed that its pioneering Vaxzevria Covid vaccine has saved six million lives across the world as it reported rocketing revenues.
Total sales across the group in the first half of the year jumped by 48% to $22.2 billion (£18.2 billion).
CEO Pascal Soriot said: “Vaxzevria is estimated to have saved more than six million lives during the first year of roll-out.” However, AstraZeneca said its revenues from the Covid vaccine were anticipated to be “broadly flat” this year but that lack of growth would be offset by advances from its coronavirus prevention medicine Evusheld.
The business said it would upgrade its revenue prediction for this year and now expected a ”low 20s” percent rise.
The pharma company also announced that Michel Demaré is set to succeed Leif Johansson as chairman. Johansson will step aside after next year’s AGM.
Hundreds of Aston Martin supercars have been left unfinished as the beleaguered luxury carmaker struggles to procure car parts amid supply chain struggles brought on by lockdowns in China and War in Ukraine.
Aston Martin said more than 350 cars were awaiting parts by the end of June, causing the firm to take a £80 million hit to its cash reserves.
The iconic British brand has posted its eighth consecutive half-year of losses, fuelled by a £134 million knock from foreign exchange movements.
Revenues grew 9% to £499 million, led by sell-out demand for its new V12 Vantage sportscar as well as enthusiasm for its new SUV, the DBX707.
Aston Martin shares climbed 2.3% to top 480p. The share price has fallen 65% since the start of the year.

US tech giants Amazon and Apple shares made gains in after-hours trading after they both posted revenue growth that surpassed analyst expectations.
Amazon revenue grew 7.1% to $121 billion in the quarter to June. It made a loss of $2 billion, led by a $3.9 billion write down in the value of its investment in electric car business Rivian. The company said it expected strong revenue growth in the third quarter, thanks in part to collecting more in fees from its Prime subscription service after pushing up prices.
Meanwhile Apple posted revenues of $83 billion, topping estimates by at least $200 million. The California-based company reassured investors that tougher economic conditions were not putting a dent in sales of its iPhones, but it warned sales had fallen 1% in China.
The FTSE 100 slipped back in afternoon trade, losing momentum generated by some well-received earnings reports after bleak US economic data darkened the day.
London’s main stock index was down 34 points at 7,316.85, following news of a second consecutive economic contraction in the US, just as policymakers are raising rates to fight inflation. The FTSE 100 had touched a multi-week high earlier in the day, helped by a warm reception from City traders for results from Anglo American, Rentokil Initial and Centrica.
Not all the company reports were well received. Shares in Smith & Nephew, the medical devices maker, fell by 11% to 1067p after its profit took a hit from supply chain problems.
Diageo shares rose 2.5% to 3861p after it said drinkers upgrading to spirits and premium brands helped annual profits pass £4 billion. The return of after-work socialising following an end to Covid restrictions also helped the maker of Guinness and Johnnie Walker.
New York stock markets were steady in opening trade as investors took heart from strong corporate earnings even as the odds of a US recession fell.
The S&P 500 opened up steadily at 4,029.85 points after data showed the second consecutive quarterly fall in output, taking the world’s biggest economy into a widely accepted technical definition of recession. But the US government does not recognise it, instead using a different range of measures.
The cautious feel to trade also followed the Federal Reserve’s 0.75% rate hike overnight as policymakers continue to their fight against inflation at a time of economic slowdown. A generally strong earnings season in the US provided some reassurance, although shares in Covid vaccine maker Pfizer fell by over 3% even after it reported record quarterly sales.
The US has entered the widely-accepted technical definition of recession, according to data out today from the Commerce Department.
The figures show the second consecutive quarter in which the size of the economy shrank. Gross domestic product fell by 0.9% year-on-year in the second quarter and was down 0.2% from the first quarter. The decline followed a 1.6% drop in GDP for the first three months of the year.
Economists generally accept two quarters of contraction as the definition of recession, but the US government does not. Instead, the country’s National Bureau of Economic Research uses a range of analysis for its official definition of a recesssion.
Nonetheless, Thursdays figures are a high-profile reminder of the challenges policymakers face in order to help growth while they also fight inflation by raising interest rates. The numbers came out a day after the Federal Reserve lifted rates by 0.75% for the second month in a row.
FMCG business Nestlé maker of Kit-Kat and Aero has boosted sales by 9.2% in the first half of the year despite introducing “price increases “ across its portfolio of products. 
Sales reached 45.6 billion Swiss Francs (£39 billion) across the six month period from January to June. The figure was up from 41.8 billion Swiss Francs during the same period the year before.
Underlying earnings per share increased by 8.1% and by 7.3% on a reported basis to 2.33 Swiss Francs.
However, the company sounded a note of alarm by highlighting “growing food insecurity” around the world and “heightened climate concerns” following an increase in “unusual weather patterns”. 
Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO, said: Our local teams implemented price increases in a responsible manner. Volume and product mix were resilient, based on our strong brands, differentiated offerings and leading market positions.
“We limited the impact of unprecedented inflationary pressures and supply chain constraints on our margin development through disciplined cost control and operational efficiencies.”
PFIZER, the global drugs giant best known for its Covid-19 vaccine, became the latest big-name from the US to beat forecasts as Wall Street’s earnings season continues to gather pace.
The company powered through forecasts, reporting a total of $27.7 billion in second-quarter sales, a record high. That included almost $9 billion in sales of its Covid vaccine and over $8 billion for an antiviral treatment. The numbers came one day after it announced the start of mid-stage trials of a vaccine for the Omicron Covid sub variant BA2.
It had been reported in the run up to today’s financial results that take-up of Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral drug had slowed, as the boom in sales of such treatments cooled in line with the ending of Covid restrictions in much of the world. Paxlovid was, for a while, one of the fastest-selling drugs of all time.
The strong earnings announced today show that demand remains strong as the pandemic fades from the forefront of the news in much of the world.
DISCOVERIE, the bespoke electronics maker, held the top spot on London’s FTSE 250 leaderboard in afternoon trade, helped by forecast-beating first-quarter earnings.
The company has manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka and said that output there was at expected levels despite the unrest in the country,
Its stock rose by almost 10% to 749p. The rally came after the Guildford-based company said sales were up 27% year-on-year at constant exchange rates, with orders coming in more strongly than expected. DiscoverIE makes application-specific components for industrial clients, a business model that tends to create long-term revenue streams.
Overall, the FTSE 250 was up 98 points at 19,737.84 in early afternoon trade. The FTSE 100 faded from a brighter start on a busy day for earnings to hold steady at 7344.92.


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