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Equilibrium's finance and investment news roundup

Our roundup this week includes a profits warning from BT after it revised up the impact of an accounting scandal in its Italian business, as well as a warning from EasyJet that its profits will be hit by the weaker pound. We also bring news of a reduction in home-movers for the first time in five years and a planned increase in fines for the most serious speeding offences.


BT issues forecasts warning after Italian accounting review

BT has warned that its profits could be hit after revising up the impact of an accounting scandal relating to its Italian business. The telecoms giant announced that the accounting errors, which first surfaced last October, were greater than initially reported following an independent review of the matter.

The company revised the impact of the scandal up from £145 million to £530 million and has reduced its revenue, earnings and cash flow forecasts for the next two years. Shares in BT fell by 19% in early trading on Tuesday following the announcement.

Following the independent review, it was determined that improper accounting practices and a complex set of improper sales, purchasing and leasing transactions had taken place. 

EasyJet warns of profits hit due to weaker pound

Profits at EasyJet could be hit harder than expected this year due to the weaker pound. The low-cost airline warned that the weakening of the currency, coupled with higher fuel prices, will result in its profits being cut by a larger-than-expected £105 million in 2017.

Shares in the company were down 7% in early trading on Tuesday following the announcement. EasyJet also reported an 8.3% rise in passenger numbers to 17.4 million in the final three months of 2016, although revenue per seat was down by 1.2% to £51.64 per seat.

Caroline McCall, Chief Executive at EasyJet, said: "Easyjet has delivered a solid first quarter [the final three months of 2016] with revenue, cost and passenger numbers in line with expectation. This is despite tough pricing and operating environment." 

Lloyds Bank: Home-mover numbers decrease for first time in 5 years

Home-mover numbers decreased for the first time in five years in 2016. This is according to new figures from Lloyds Bank, which revealed a total of 354,000 households sold up and bought somewhere else last year. This represented a fall of 4% on 2015's figures.

Higher house prices were cited as a main reason for the first annual decline in the number of Britons moving home since 2011. It was shown that in paying an average of £291,777 for their new property, home-movers were paying 7% more than they did in 2015.

Andrew Mason, Mortgages Director at Lloyds Bank, stressed the importance of high home-mover numbers, explaining that they serve to increase the supply of properties in the market. 

Most serious speeding offence fines 'to rise by 50%'

Fines are set to increase for drivers caught committing the most serious speeding offences, it has been revealed. Following a review of sentencing guidelines for magistrates' courts, it was announced that such penalties will rise by up to 50% in England and Wales.

The Sentencing Council explained that as the seriousness of offending increases, so too should the increase in penalty.

As a result, a motorist caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone or 101mph on a motorway could be hit with a fine totaling 150% of their weekly income.


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