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Equilibrium's finance and investment news roundup

Our first roundup of April includes a significant shares increase for electric carmaker Tesla and a half-year profits jump for online clothes retailer Asos, as well as plans announced by Lloyds Bank to convert hundreds of branches into new 'micro branches', and new findings indicating a drop in household savings ratios.


Tesla's shares climb after record vehicle deliveries

Shares in electric carmaker Tesla climbed by more than 7% on Monday after it announced record vehicle deliveries for the first quarter of 2017. During the three-month period, the company delivered more than 25,000 cars, which represented a 70% jump on the same quarter last year.

The movement meant that at the close of trading on Monday, Tesla's market value had overtaken that of Ford, with the former closing with a value of $49 billion (£38 billion) compared to the latter's $46 billion. However, Ford's sales numbers (6.7 million vehicles in 2016) remain far ahead of Tesla's (76,000 vehicles).

Tesla is aiming to deliver as many as 50,000 autos in the first half of 2017 and production of the firm's new Model 3 vehicle is expected to begin in July. 

Asos reports half-year profits jump 

Asos has cited improved international performance as key to its leap in half-yearly profits. The online fashion retailer recorded a 14% rise in profits for the six months to the end of February, climbing to £27.3 million, while sales jumped by 31% to reach £889.2 million.

While UK sales increased by 18%, international sales swelled by 42%. The retailer explained that the fall in sterling following the results of last year's European Union referendum has led to an escalation in exports, which has enabled it to reduce prices.

Nick Beighton, Chief Executive of Asos, commented: "As a net exporter, sterling weakness has created an FX tailwind for the business, which has enabled investment above previously planned levels into both price and proposition." 

Lloyds Bank to convert hundreds of branches into 'micro branches'

Lloyds Bank is to convert hundreds of its branches into new designs to better reflect changes in customer behaviour. The bank is to shrink branches - including Halifax and Bank of Scotland branches - into new 'micro branches' that can be staffed by just two people.

The changes follow the increase in online banking transactions and the new spaces will use as little as 1,000 square feet of space, with no counter areas. Staff will instead carry tablet computers as they move around to assist customers.

Lloyds has already revealed that it plans to close 400 branches across the UK, which will result in around 9,000 job losses. 

ONS: Savings ratio fell to record low in 2016 

The UK's household savings ratio fell to its lowest level since the early 1920s at the end of last year, it has been revealed. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), changes in insurance and pension values in the last quarter of 2016 contributed to the dip.

The ratio is important because it measures and compares the incomings and outgoings that impact household finances. The ONS also revealed that the UK economy grew by 0.7% in the final quarter of 2016. 


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