Sat, Aug 15, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

MICROCHIPS

Low orders from chipmakers

Applied Materials Inc, the largest maker of machinery used to build computer chips, forecast fiscal fourth-quarter sales that might fall short of analysts’ estimates on lower-than-expected orders from some outsourcing chipmakers. Revenue in the three months ending in October will be unchanged to down 7 percent from the previous period, the Santa Clara, California-based company said in a statement on Thursday. That indicates sales of as low as US$2.32 billion, compared with an average analyst estimate of US$2.52 billion. The company is now predicting the overall market for equipment is to be unchanged from last year and might even shrink, chief executive officer Gary Dickerson said.

ECONOMY

EU GDP growth up 0.3%

The eurozone economy grew by less than expected in the second quarter, the EU’s statistics office said in its first estimate published yesterday. Eurostat said GDP in the 19-country euro area grew by 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter in the April-June period, for a 1.2 percent year-on-year rise. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.4 percent quarterly expansion and a 1.3 percent annual gain. The relatively slow growth came despite a large monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank and a weak euro helping exporters. “Looking ahead, business surveys suggest that the euro zone economy will continue to expand, led by strong growth in Spain and a solid German economy. But they offer little hope that the recovery will gain pace,” Capital Economics said in a note. “Indeed, we think it is more likely that growth in the region as a whole will slow further in the second half of the year.”

INSURANCE

Swiss Life beats predictions

Swiss Life Holding AG, Switzerland’s biggest life insurer, beat analysts’ first-half profit estimates, led by revenue from fees and commissions. Net income rose to 490 million Swiss francs (US$511 million) from SF484 million a year earlier, the Zurich-based company said yesterday. That beat the SF452 million average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Gross written premiums rose to SF11 billion from SF10.8 billion, while fee and commission income advanced 5 percent to SF612 million. Swiss Life chief executive officer Patrick Frost has been seeking to boost profitability and cut costs as low interest rates weigh on earnings.

INTERNET

Australian court caps fine

An Australian court yesterday forced makers of the film Dallas Buyers Club to cap penalties for illegal downloaders, a ruling welcomed by Internet companies as a “knockout blow” to the controversial tactic of threatening pirates into paying fines. The ruling puts Australia at odds with the US, UK, Canada and Germany where content owners have been allowed to send letters to suspected illegal downloaders demanding thousands of dollars to drop legal action, a measure known as “speculative invoicing.” In a lawsuit seen as a test of whether the practice is to be allowed in Australia, where a third of adults admit to stealing online, the studio, Voltage Pictures, wanted iiNet and five smaller Internet companies to hand over the addresses of 4,276 suspected offenders, but the Federal Court refused their request, saying it would only make the Internet companies hand over customer details if the producers promised to charge only the cost of buying a copy of the film.

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