1.AMAZON:Amazon will create 1,500 new apprenticeships in the United Kingdom in 2022, it said on Wednesday.
The internet giant said it was offering 40 entry to degree-level apprenticeship schemes, including new schemes in the areas of publishing, retailing, marketing, and a programme focused on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).
Amazon said it grew its permanent UK workforce by 25,000 in 2021, taking the total to 70,000.
The group had previously announced it would create 10,000 roles in 2021 and end the year with 55,000 permanent employees.
However, it recruited an additional 15,000 for its fulfilment centres, sort centres and delivery stations across the UK as well for corporate and research and development functions.
Amazon says it has invested 32 billion pounds ($43.3 billion) in the UK since 2010, though it does not break down that investment.
Its expansion in 2021 included its first 17 physical stores in the UK – 15 Amazon Fresh food stores in London, and two Amazon 4-star retail stores in London and Kent, which sell a selection of products from Amazon and UK small businesses.
2.Alphabet:–Alphabet stock surged 10% in premarket Wednesday after the Google parent reported a 32% jump in its fourth-quarter revenue, profiting from sustained high demand for its search, Cloud and YouTube services.
Both revenue and earnings easily surpassed estimates.
Total revenuet topped $75 billion, a new record, as corporates and individuals spent heavily on online advertising, shopping and entertainment.
Revenue growth was slower in percentage terms sequentially, reflecting a slight cooling off in online activity as the reopening of economies after nearly two years of the pandemic started to lure people away from their various online devices.
Adding to the gains in the stock was the company’s decision to go for a 20-for-one stock split to appeal to a wider set of investors. A stock split doesn’t change anything fundamentally for the stock but makes it easier for small investors to hold the stock directly. A low share price thus helps in bringing more buyers to the stock. For the same reason, Apple AAPL and Tesla split their shares in 2020.
Advertising sales, which include Search and YouTube, rose by a third to exceed $61 billion. YouTube ads contributed $8.6 billion to it. The video platform now records 15 billion views daily, the company said.
Google Cloud, a focus area for the company where it trails Amazon and Microsoft by a margin, grew 45% to $5.5 billion.
Operating margin for the company expanded by 1% percentage from a year ago to 29% but was down 3 percentage points from the third quarter.
3.VODAFONE:- Vodafone, the telecoms group targeted by activist investor Cevian Capital, said it was working to improve shareholder returns by tackling weaker parts of its business, as it reported a rise in quarterly revenue.
Chief Executive Nick Read said Vodafone had delivered a “solid quarter”, with a 2.7% rise in third-quarter group service revenue, including consistent growth in its biggest market Germany.
Analysts, however, said investors were focused on consolidation opportunities in markets such as Italy and Spain, which have long been problematic for Vodafone.
Chief Executive Nick Read, who has called for regulators to allow more consolidation, said: “We are also committed to creating value for our shareholders through proactive portfolio actions and continuing to improve returns at pace.”
The group is focused on strengthening commercial momentum in Germany, he said, and accelerating its transformation in Spain, where revenue continued to decline.
Vodafone lost 53,000 contract mobile customers and 50,000 broadband customers in Spain, while it recorded its eighth consecutive quarter of decline in Italy.
Shares in Vodafone, which are trading at the same level as 12 months ago, were 2.8% higher in early deals.
Analysts at Citi said they believed the numbers should be satisfactory for the market.
“The focus is firmly on developments in terms of in-market consolidation in UK/Italy and Spain and other initiatives, including the de-consolidation of (towers business) Vantage,” they said.
Reuters reported earlier this month that Vodafone and Iliad were in talks to combine their businesses in Italy, where operators continue to battle price pressure.
Vodafone said in November it expected to report adjusted core earnings of 15.2 billion to 15.4 billion euros and adjusted free cash flow of at least 5.3 billion euros.
Analysts expect adjusted core earnings of 15.26 billion euros and adjusted free cash flow of 5.34 billion euros, according to a company-compiled consensus.
4.VOLVO:Volvo Car Group’s sales fell 20.2% in January under pressure from the global component shortage, though demand for its products remained strong, the automaker said on Wednesday.
Volvo, which has been heavily impacted by sector-wide supply-chain constraints and semiconductor shortages, warned last year that the chip shortage would continue into 2022.
The Sweden-based company said that while production had continued to improve gradually, retail deliveries were held back “due to an increase of cars in transit”.
“The supply situation continues to ease, but component shortages will remain a constraining factor for Volvo Cars and the auto industry,” Volvo said in a statement.
Global sales at the car manufacturer fell to 47,561 cars in January, with sales in Europe dropping 24.8% while they fell 12.8% in the United States.
Volvo, which is majority owned by China’s Geely Holding, listed on Nasdaq Stockholm in October after wrapping up Europe’s biggest initial public offering of the year.
5.SONY :– Japan’s Sony Group Corp raised its full-year profit forecast by 15% on Wednesday after posting estimate-smashing quarterly earnings, propelled by the success of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” which has become the sixth-highest grossing movie.
Operating profit at its pictures business jumped by more than seven-fold to 149.4 billion yen ($1.30 billion) in its fiscal third quarter ended December as the unit’s revenue more than doubled.
It now expects the business to post a profit of 205 billion yen in the current fiscal year as the super-hero movie, released in December, grossed more than $1.7 billion worldwide despite the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The segment was also boosted by receipts from the “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” movie and licensing of the “Seinfeld” sitcom along with the sale of mobile games business GSN Games.
Overall quarterly operating profit at Sony – a conglomerate spanning areas such as entertainment, sensors and financial services – was 465.2 billion yen, compared with an estimated average profit of 351.6 billion yen from nine analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.
Sony, which switched to IFRS accounting standards from U.S. GAAP in the current financial year, increased its full-year profit forecast to 1.2 trillion yen from 1.04 trillion yen. That prediction is higher than an average 1.09 trillion yen profit forecast from 24 analysts, Refinitiv data showed.
The company’s main gaming segment, focused on PlayStation, also posted a rise in profit, with sales of 3.9 million PS5 units in the third quarter, but hardware supply was hampered by component shortages.
Sony cut its full-year PS5 sales forecast to 11.5 million units from 14.8 million units previously in response.