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Apple, Ocado, Smiths Group and other news
Investors liked plans by Apple to offer various new services including new TV, gaming and credit card platforms, sending its shares up 1.4% to $191.4. This move suggests it is trying new ways of growing earnings without being so reliant on sales of iPhones and its other consumer electronics products, which are slowing.
While the company may be nearing saturation point with sales of tablets and smartphones, the prolific sales of these products means the company has a significant installed base of devices (around 1.4bn at the last count) through which to sell its services.
PREPARING FOR DEMERGER
Shares in Smiths Group (SMIN) were in demand on 22 March as it bowed to shareholder pressure and firmed up plans to demerge its medical business next year.
Smiths is a diverse collection of businesses providing everything from sensors for explosives to hospital equipment and oil services and there has long been clamour for a break up, with the medical division in particular seen as a candidate for sale due to continued underperformance.
Full year results showed underlying pre-tax profit down 1% to £216m with its Smiths Medical and Smiths Detection arms faring poorly, while the John Crane oil and gas business, Flex-Tek fluid engineering division and electronic components specialist Smiths Interconnect all posted solid growth.
ANOTHER DEAL FOR OCADO
Food delivery firm Ocado (OCDO) nabbed its fifth overseas deal in less than 18 months, firing the share price to new highs above £13. The tie-up with Australian grocer Coles will see the latter pay for the Ocado Smart Platform – which provides online delivery services.
Elsewhere, lender Amigo Loans (AMGO) saw its shares come under pressure after the Financial Conduct Authority said it was worried about the guarantor loans space in which Amigo occupies, raising the threat of growing scrutiny and stricter regulation.
On 25 March ConvaTec hired the current chief of animal genetics firm Genus (GNS) Karim Bitar and on 26 March Crest Nicholson secured Galliford Try (GFRD) head honcho Peter Truscott. Shares in both Galliford and Genus reacted negatively to the news.