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Equilibrium's finance and investment news roundup

In our roundup this week we report on a shares increase for Nokia after it settled a patent dispute with Apple, a 23% profits fall for Nationwide, warnings that workers may be earning less as employers spend more on pension schemes, and new figures from the ONS revealing improved retail sales in April.


Nokia shares surge after Apple patent dispute settled

Shares in Nokia rose sharply on Tuesday after the company revealed it had settled a patent dispute with Apple. The dispute had resulted in Nokia's shares falling last December, but news of the two firms signing a business collaboration deal led to a 7.4% shares increase in early trading on Tuesday.

Legal action was taken by both companies last year after the expiration of a previous patent licence contract, with Nokia accusing Apple of violating technology patents and Apple accusing Nokia of acting like "a patent troll".

Maria Varsellona, Nokia's Chief Legal Officer, said: "[The agreement] moves our relationship with Apple from being adversaries in court to business partners." 

Nationwide reports 23% profits fall

Nationwide Building Society has revealed that its underlying profit tumbled 23% in the financial year to April. The mortgage provider posted an annual profit of £1 billion compared to the £1.3 billion it reported last year.

Keeping rates unchanged on some savings accounts in order to protect savers from the full effects of the Bank of England's benchmark interest rate cut to 0.25% was cited as a reason for the decrease.

Despite the profits drop, Nationwide's Chief Financial Officer Mark Rennison said: "Nationwide has delivered a very strong trading performance over the last year, with record levels of active members, mortgage lending and current account openings." 

Workers earning less due to pension schemes?

Employees may be earning less because of the amount of money employers are spending on pension schemes. This is the warning from the Resolution Foundation, which has found some workers may be unfairly losing out on around £200 a year.

The think tank claimed that UK firms spent around £24 billion trying to plug their deficits and keeping their pension schemes afloat, including companies such as Tesco, Shell and BT.

Matt Whittaker, Chief Economist at the Resolution Foundation, commented: "This drag on pay has important implications across generations as low - and often younger - earners in affected firms are losing out on pay even when they are not entitled to the pension pots they are plugging." 

ONS: Warmer weather boosted retail sales in April

UK retail sales volumes climbed 2.3% in April, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown. They were also 4% higher than the same month the year before.

The ONS explained that improved weather during the month contributed to the increase. Recent rises in inflation also meant a 6.2% rise in the three months to April compared with the same period in 2016.  


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