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Equilibrium's finance and investment news roundup

This week's roundup includes a profits jump for oil giant BP, a fall in house prices across April, calls for the triple-lock pension policy to be revamped, and an investigation into the self-employment statuses for drivers and couriers for companies such as Uber and Deliveroo.


Profits 'almost triple' for BP

BP's profits nearly tripled over the first three months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, helped by the recent increase in oil prices. The rise resulted in the oil giant's shares trading 2.4% higher in early trading on Tuesday.

Oil prices have climbed by 50% over the past 12 months, reaching around $54 a barrel in the first quarter of this year. Other major oil rivals including Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Total have also posted higher-than-expected earnings for the quarter.

BP was also helped by a rise in oil and gas production of 5% in the first three months of 2017 compared to the first quarter of last year. 

House prices 'fell for second month in a row'

Nationwide has revealed that UK house prices fell for the second consecutive month in April, dipping by 0.4%. The annual rate of price growth also slowed to 2.6%.

According to the building society, the slowdown is a result of a squeeze on real incomes, as well as pressures linked to affordability in some areas.

Robert Gardner, Chief Economist at Nationwide, said: "Household budgets are coming under pressure, as wage growth has moderated and inflation has accelerated." 

Triple-lock pension to be revamped?

The triple-lock pension, which sees the state pension rise with the highest of either wages, inflation or 2.5%, could be set for a revamp after one of the main figures behind its introduction called for the policy to be updated, BBC News reports.

Steve Webb, a Director at Royal London and Pension Minister between 2010 and 2015, would like to see a 'middle way' brought into state pension policy. This would involve the triple-lock being retained for pensioners who retired before April 6 2016 and, for those who retire after that date, their pension increases would be linked to earnings only. 

MPs: Bogus self-employment status has to end

MPs have called for an end to the "bogus" self-employment status given to drivers and couriers for companies such as Deliveroo and Uber. Following an investigation into the matter, the Work and Pensions Committee said that workers require full worker status and that the self-employed status they currently have means they are vulnerable to exploitation.

Uber, however, has claimed that its way of working allows drivers to have more control over what they do, while Deliveroo said people are attracted to the flexibility it offers.

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