Amazon – has announced that its Echo personal digital assistant will now allow users to place calls and send messages to one another, free of charge. The cost element isn’t the important fact here, but it shows a clear attempt to make a single source for all users’ internet requirements, cutting the likes of Facebook or WhatsApp out of the equation.
Walt Disney – appears to be making the most of a rebounding global consumer economy, with the entertainment giant reporting profits up 11.4% last night. Theme park revenues and the success of its newly launched Beauty & the Beast film have both helped drive performance, although the company is – like many others – struggling with its TV divisions.
Barratt – the UK house builder seems unconcerned by news that property prices are at last falling, with the company expecting to build more houses in 2017 than it has in any year since 2008. The liquid mortgage market – propped up by government assistance – is seen as key in driving sales so any changes here in the future could cast a shadow over the sector.
TalkTalk – the telecoms operator which was hit by a major cyber attack in 2015 may have returned to profitability with this morning’s update, but news that the dividend would be cut – and predictions that profits will fall again next year – have sent shares in the company tumbling. We looked at dividend yield recently and TalkTalk was the highest payer in percentage terms – all too often this is a sign that the dividend will be cut.
Australia – is to hit its big banks with a levy and most of its workforce with tax rises as the country looks to return to a budget surplus, (where the government is spending less than its income) by 2021.