Aug 4, 2020

What's going on with TikTok?

Microsoft confirmed it wants to acquire TikTok after President Trump threatened to ban the app.

Aug 4, 2020

Donald Trump: US Treasury should get cut of TikTok deal

Donald Trump has said the US should get a cut from the sale of TikTok's US unit if it is bought by an American firm. The Trump administration has accused TikTok and others of providing data to the Chinese government - which Beijing and TikTok deny. Nicholas Klein, a lawyer at DLA Piper, said generally "The government doesn't have the authority to take a cut of a private deal through" the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is the inter-agency committee that reviews...

Aug 4, 2020

Twitter needs to act over racist abuse, says David Lammy

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy has called on Twitter to be "Faster at stamping out racist threats" after receiving abuse online. The user's account wasn't suspended until Monday, after further tweets from Mr Lammy highlighting the abuse. Twitter said racist behaviour had "No place on our service". He tweeted the abuse again, saying the police were investigating but Twitter had not taken any action. "A Twitter spokesman said:"We have policies in place that address abuse and harassment,...

Aug 4, 2020

BP halves dividend as Covid-19 turmoil pushes oil major to loss

BP slashed its dividend for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 as the UK oil major bolsters its finances after the coronavirus pandemic roiled the industry. The company cut the shareholder payout by 50 per cent for the second quarter to 5.25 US cents a share, marking a drastic turnround since the start of the year when BP's confidence about cash generation led it to raise the dividend to 10.50 cents. Analysts had forecast a loss of $6.8bn, with the figure including...

Aug 4, 2020

BP halves dividend after suffering record loss

BP has halved its dividend and reported a record $6.7bn quarterly loss after the coronavirus pandemic hit global demand for oil. The dividend cut is a blow for UK pension funds, many of whom have large shareholdings in BP. The loss was largely due to BP writing down the value of its assets after it cut its oil price forecasts. The FTSE 100 company said the outlook for oil prices and demand "Remains challenging and uncertain". In the short-term, BP said it expected demand for oil could be up...

Aug 4, 2020

City Bulletin: BP falls into line with peers and slashes dividend

BP halves dividend; private equity circles AA, ESG funds’ red faces over Boohoo scandal

Aug 4, 2020

easyJet expects rise in air travel after reporting 99% revenue fall in quarter

Carrier encouraged by high demand in July from holidaymakers flying to Portugal and France

Aug 3, 2020

HSBC profits plunge 96% as loan-loss provisions jump on coronavirus

Europe’s largest bank warns on impact of US-China friction as crisis hits profits

Aug 3, 2020

City Bulletin: HSBC follows rivals with big provisions and tumbling profits

HSBC profits tumble, Microsoft eyes Tik Tok, the pall of working from home

Aug 3, 2020

Coronavirus: HSBC to speed up 35,000 job cuts as profits slump

HSBC plans to speed up job cuts after interim profits plunged and the bank said bad loans linked to the coronavirus could reach $13bn. Europe's biggest bank reported a 65% drop in pre-tax profits to $4.3bn for the first half of the year - much steeper than analysts had forecast. HSBC chairman Mark Tucker is overseeing the programme to shrink the bank's operations in Europe and the US. The bank has previously said it could wind down or sell its US retail banking operations which could involve...

Aug 3, 2020

HSBC: more steel than Flint

CEO’s successor has cut costs but coronavirus and political uncertainties add to pressure on bank

Aug 2, 2020

Microsoft and TikTok talks continue after Trump call

A possible sale of Chinese-owned TikTok's US operations to Microsoft is reportedly on hold after Donald Trump vowed to ban the video-sharing app. The Wall Street Journal said Microsoft had now paused talks despite TikTok owner ByteDance making last ditch efforts to win White House support. The popularity of the short-form video app has soared, with TikTok thought to have about half a billion active users worldwide - and about 80 million in the US - with a huge proportion of these in their...

Aug 2, 2020

Brazil Bolsonaro: Facebook told to block accounts of president's supporters

Facebook has complied with an order by Brazil's Supreme Court to block the accounts of a dozen top allies of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. In May a judge ordered Facebook to block 12 accounts and Twitter another 16. On Friday Brazil's Supreme Court fined Facebook 1.92m reais for refusing to block worldwide access to the accounts - it had only agreed to block access to accounts that could accessed from Brazil - and a further 100,000 reais for each day it failed to comply. Among the...

Aug 1, 2020

British Airways pilots vote to accept jobs deal

AFP British Airways pilots have voted to accept a deal that will temporarily cut pay by 20% and eliminate 270 jobs, says the pilots' union Balpa. The deal prevents a controversial "Fire and rehire" scheme where staff would have been handed new contracts "On worse conditions". BA had proposed to make 12,000 staff redundant, as it struggles with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with 1,255 pilot jobs at stake. On 28 July, trade union Unite threatened industrial action against the airline...

Aug 1, 2020

TikTok: How would the US go about banning the Chinese app?

India took such a measure when it banned TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps. EPA. March 2012: Bytedance is established in China and launches Neihan Duanzi - an app to help Chinese users share memes. August 2017: An international version of Douyin is launched under the brand TikTok in some parts of the world, but not the US at this time. May 2018: TikTok declared world's most downloaded non-game iOS app over first three months of the year, by market research firm Sensor Tower. July 2020:...

Jul 31, 2020

Kylie and Kendall Jenner endorsed 'knock-off' Apple products on Instagram

Kylie and Kendall Jenner are amongst dozens of influencers BBC Click has discovered to be promoting the sale of imitation Apple AirPods on Instagram. Click's investigation uncovered dozens of social media influencers promoting clones of Apple Airpods and Apple Watches. "We would be concerned that some consumers, swayed by the power of social influencers, and the overall look and feel of the websites, might be misled into thinking they are buying genuine Apple AirPods," Mike Andrews said. The...

Jul 31, 2020

British Airways owner IAG says crisis worst in its history

IAG group says recovery will take at least three years as it announces plans to raise billions in new funds.

Jul 31, 2020

City Bulletin: British Airways’ owner strengthens finances with €2.75bn...

British Airways owner IAG has announced plans for a capital raising of up to €2.75bn to strengthen its finances as the impact of the pandemic rips through the aviation industry. British American Tobacco reported a small rise in revenue as people kept smoking throughout the crisis, although its operations in some emerging markets have been hit. Total buybacks are expected to drop this year, but as Richard Henderson in New York reports, companies in the S&P 500 that have reported second-quarter...

Jul 31, 2020

BT warns of Covid-19 pressure on full-year profit

BT has warned of a sharp drop in revenue and earnings for the year due to the impact of coronavirus as it reported a 13 per cent fall in quarterly profits. The FTSE 100 telecoms group said its revenue fell 7 per cent to £5.2bn in the three months to June 30, with pre-tax profits declining to £561m. It had earlier this year withdrawn its full-year profit guidance and suspended its dividend as the pandemic made it difficult for management to accurately forecast the group's performance. BT said...

Jul 31, 2020

Twitter bans ex-KKK leader David Duke

Twitter has permanently banned white nationalist David Duke for repeatedly violating its rules about "Hateful conduct". The Anti-Defamation League, an anti-hate organisation, describes Duke as "Perhaps America's most well-known racist and anti-Semite". Duke's final tweet linked to an interview he had conducted with Germar Rudolf, who was convicted of Holocaust denial in Germany where it is a criminal offence. His penultimate tweet promised to expose the "Systemic racism lie", while another...

Jul 31, 2020

Twitter hack: Staff tricked by phone spear-phishing scam

The unprecedented hacking of celebrity Twitter accounts this month was caused by human error and a spear-phishing attack on Twitter employees, the company has confirmed. Twitter isn't clarifying whether or not their employees were duped by an email or a phone call. The criminals obtained the phone numbers of a handful of Twitter staff and, by using friendly persuasion and trickery, got them to hand over usernames and passwords that gave them an initial foothold into the internal system....

Jul 31, 2020

Australia unveils plan to force Google and Facebook to pay for news

The Australian government has unveiled its plan to force tech giants such as Google and Facebook to pay news outlets for their content. Facebook and Google strongly oppose the proposal, even suggesting they could walk away from Australia's news market. It would allow news companies to negotiate as a bloc with tech giants for content which appears in their news feeds and search results. The code will initially focus on Google and Facebook but could be expanded to other tech companies, the...

Jul 31, 2020

Twitter hack: Bognor Regis man one of three charged

A teenager in Florida has been arrested over a major Twitter hack in July, according to the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office. On 15 July, Twitter accounts of multiple high-profile US figures were hijacked in an apparent Bitcoin scam. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren has filed 30 felony charges against the teenager for "Scamming people across America". The charges against the teenager include 17 counts of communication fraud, 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal information,...

Jul 30, 2020

Coronavirus: Samsung profits soar on work from home demand

Samsung Electronics has seen its earnings soar as sales were boosted by millions working and learning from home during the virus pandemic. The results were helped by strong demand for computer chips, which pushed up prices on the global market. "The Memory Business saw robust demand for cloud applications related to remote working and online education as the impact from Covid-19 continued, while demand for mobile was relatively weak," the South Korean company said in a statement. "The...

Jul 30, 2020

Nasa Mars rover: Perseverance robot launches to detect life on Red Planet

Lift-off of Perseverance on a United Launch Alliance Atlas rocket is timed for the start of a two-hour window that opens at 07:50 local time. At first glance, Perseverance looks to be a copy of the Curiosity robot Nasa sent to Mars' Gale Crater in 2012. Expect some remarkable new imagery from the 23 cameras on the vehicle - and sound, because the Perseverance mission carries microphones as well. Even if Perseverance stumbles across rocks that appear to have been fashioned by some ancient...

Jul 30, 2020

City Bulletin: Lloyds puts aside £3.8bn as economic gloom builds

Lloyds Banking Group racked up another £2.4bn in impairment charges in the second quarter of the year as the UK high street bank cut its outlook for the British economy. Combined with a 16 per cent decline in net income and a smaller trading surplus, the charges dragged the bank to a £600m loss for the first half of the year. Lloyds has now recorded £3.8bn of provisions for the first six months of the year. Revenues at drugmaker AstraZeneca climbed 12 per cent in the first half of the year,...

Jul 30, 2020

Shell and Total escape underlying losses on strong oil trading

Royal Dutch Shell escaped a loss in the second quarter after stronger oil trading results helped to offset plunging energy demand triggered by the coronavirus pandemic that has battered the entire sector's finances. Despite an 82 per cent drop, during one of the industry's most brutal quarters, it beat the $674m loss that analysts had expected. Strong crude and oil products trading alongside lower operating expenses buffered Shell from the plunge in energy prices. Shell also announced a post...

Jul 30, 2020

Coronavirus: England highest level of excess deaths

England had the highest levels of excess deaths in Europe between the end of February to the middle of June, official analysis shows. The Office for National Statistics said England saw the second highest peak rates of death in Europe, after Spain. England had the longest period where deaths were above average, and so overall had the highest levels. The ONS analysis shows the epidemic in the UK was more widely spread than in other countries.

Jul 30, 2020

Argos axes 'book of dreams' catalogue after 48 years

Argos has announced it is to stop printing its physical catalogue as it shifts to invest in digital-only alternatives. All Argos stores will shift to digital screens by January 2021, and no further take-home editions will be produced. "Over the decades the Argos catalogue has charted the nation's changing tastes and trends in everything from must-have toys to the latest gadgets and devices," he said. "The reality is the march of technology and progression doesn't spare anything, not even the...

Jul 30, 2020

Huawei takes top spot in global phone shipments for first time

Huawei has become the biggest vendor of smartphones in the world for the first time, according to analysts' estimates. Huawei phones have also struggled to appeal to Western markets because they do not have Google-made apps, which are banned due to US trade restrictions. The lack of integration with Google's popular apps on Huawei phones is likely to put off some smartphone buyers. Huawei has responded by building its own app store solution, which The Register reports now has some 81,000 apps...