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Equilibrium's finance and investment news roundup

This week's roundup covers positive first-half gains for Vodafone, as well as Tesco posting its fastest sales growth for three years. We also report on a first annual profits dip in six years for easyJet and warnings from the Money Advice Service that 16 and 17-year-olds are ill-prepared for dealing with finances as they approach adulthood.


Vodafone posts 4.3% first-half gains

Vodafone has recorded a 4.3% increase in core earnings for the first half of 2016, with improved trading in the German and Italian markets cited as main reasons for the upturn. The British mobile phone group posted better-than-anticipated earnings of £6.8 billion for the six-month period, while a 2.4% climb in organic service revenue in the second quarter built on the 2.2% reported for the first.

Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive of Vodafone, said: "We have further improved our performance during the first half of the financial year with Europe modestly ahead of our expectations - led by Germany and Italy - and good execution in Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific."

He added that, despite "macroeconomic uncertainties", the company is on track to meet its full-year objectives and expects its underlying performance to be sustained. 

Tesco sales 'grow at fastest rate for three years'

Sales at Tesco grew at their fastest rate for three years in the 12 weeks to November 6, new figures from Kantar Worldpanel have shown. According to the market researcher, sales climbed by 2.2% year on year, enabling the supermarket giant to return to market share growth.

Compared to the same time last year, Tesco's share of Britain's grocery market has increased from 27.9% to 28.15%, while shares in the group had risen by 3.4% in early trading on Tuesday.

It was shown that more affluent customers appear to be returning to Tesco, while there has also been an increase in popularity of the supermarket's own-label products, including its 'Finest' range. 

easyJet reports first annual profits fall for six years

Budget airline easyJet has posted a fall in annual profits following a challenging year for the air travel industry, which has included terror attacks, air traffic control strikes and a weakening pound. It is the first time the airline has reported an annual profits fall for six years.

In the year to September 30, pre-tax profits tumbled by 27.9% to £495 million, and cuts in fares meant that although passenger numbers climbed by 6.6%, revenues fell 0.4% to £4.67 billion.

easyJet added that it anticipates ticket revenues per seat to drop by around 5 to 9% next year, adding to a 6% fall in the 12 months to the end of September this year. 

Money Advice Service: Teens not prepared financially

Young people aged 16 and 17 are ill-prepared for dealing with their finances, the Money Advice Service has warned. New research from the service has shown that many teenagers approaching adulthood do not understand basic money-related skills, such as reading a payslip and putting money into a bank account.

It was also revealed that nearly one-third of 16 and 17-year-olds do not know what would happen if council tax was not paid. The Money Advice Service is calling for more consistent financial education from primary school age upwards, and for parents to take on a more leading role.

David Haigh, Director of Financial Capability at the service, said: "In order to find a lasting solution to the problem of the UK's stubbornly low levels of financial capability, we need to help parents be better role models, build their confidence in speaking to their children about these matters and support schools to deliver effective financial education."