Alphabet – the parent company of Google and YouTube posted some bumper first quarter results last night. This would indicate that the furore over established brands advertising on the video channel against some questionable content was nothing more than a storm in a teacup. For the three month period, profits were almost $5.5 billion, almost a 30% increase from the same time last year, which for a company of this size many commentators saw as being truly exceptional.
Amazon – it was a similar picture of success at the online retail giant, although it’s AWS – Amazon Web Services – that is seen as delivering the real future growth here. This is the cloud computing arm, which rents virtual processing power to other companies. It’s this idea of non-ownership that is so important with businesses of all sizes today. The risk however is that companies like this could end up holding too much power – will they soon be deemed by government as too big to fail?
Royal Bank of Scotland – some good news for the taxpayer owned bank with the company managing to report a profit this morning. These are indeed small steps, but the bank is ahead of its targets. They aimed to cut costs and to reverse the almost £1 billion loss for the same period last year into a £259m profit. To be ahead of this is something to be applauded. After almost a decade, is the UK close to putting the credit crisis behind it?
Barclays – may have reported its earnings this morning but the big challenge facing the bank harks back to the attempts by the Chief Executive to uncover a whistleblower who reported concerns over internal practices at the bank. A few weeks ago we saw humble apologies, but now major shareholders are threatening to oust the CEO and the Chairman amidst questions over governance standards at the bank. This is the sort of conflict that could prove to be a major distraction – and in turn a drag on the share price.
UK – with the general election looming, the positive and negative stories over Brexit will likely escalate in the weeks ahead. In recent days we’ve seen news that Deutsche Bank has said 4,000 jobs are at risk, yet we are also told that overseas investors are lining up to invest in the country. Whatever the outcome, it seems inevitable that the way the UK does business will look very different in five years time. If you’re not already registered to vote and are entitled to do so, you can do so until May 22nd at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote