Breakfast Briefing

Facebook fined by French data watchdog

May 17, 2017

Facebook - has been fined by French regulators for unfair tracking of some 33 million users. This was seen to be a breach of the country’s privacy laws, but the multi-billion dollar company is unlikely to be losing much sleep over the matter, with a token penalty of $166,000 being handed out - that’s the equivalent of about 10 minutes profit for the company.

Apple - there’s been a lot of talk about the release of a new iPhone this year, but is the company about to give enthusiastic consumers yet another reason to reach for the credit card? An overhaul of the company’s laptops is set to be imminent, although perhaps most interesting is the fact the MacBook Air looks set to remain part of the equation. Although the model has lost its edge in terms of compact style, battery life still seems to be a winner here.

Foxtons - the London estate agent continues to struggle with revenues down by a quarter for the first three months of the year - and a warning that the outlook will remain bleak for some time yet. That said, with this being driven by a slowing property market, it’s at least some good news for those wanting to find a toe-hold on the housing ladder.

Balfour Beatty - the civil engineering company, is the latest company to be squaring up to a shareholder backlash over the proposed £3.76m pay package for its Chief Executive. However current reports suggest that any push back will be limited in scope, with the remuneration committee (those who decide on the pay packages) confident the revision is necessary and reports of major fund groups objection don’t appear to be surfacing, either.

USA - is Donald Trump painting himself into a corner over his Russian ties? Markets seem to be getting a bit wary and with equity prices having been steadily inflated in recent years, there’s much talk of a correction being overdue. Another foot fault from the president could see stock markets panicking - but it's important to remember that history shows us the long term performance of a diversified equity portfolio with dividends reinvested has always been positive.