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Market Update

ABB Backlog Declines; Nestle, Unilever Sales Rise, SKY Profit Plunges

Author: Sarla Buch
Last Update: 6:53 PM ET April 20 2017

4:00 PM Frankfurt ABB profit surged but order backlog declined. The U.K. sells Green Investment Bank for 2.3 billion. Publicis revenues edged up slightly despite the loss of some large clients. Nestle sales were hurts by weak confectionery business. SKY profit plunged. Unilever sales met expectations.

In London trading, FTSE 100 index edged up 2.29 to 7,116.65 and in Frankfurt the DAX index gained 19.43 or 0.2% to 12,035.95.

In Paris, CAC 40 index jumped 75.43 or 1.5% to 5,079.16.

ABB Ltd increased 0.8% to 2.46 Swiss francs after Switzerland-based power and automation products provider reported revenues in the first-quarter ending in March fell 1% from a year ago to $7.9 billion.

Net income in the quarter surged 45% from a year ago to $724 million from $500 million and diluted earnings per share increased to 34 cents from 23 cents.

The utility products maker said order backlog in the quarter end declined 11% to $23.1 billion from $26 billion in a year ago period.

The UK Green Investment Bank Plc controlled by the U.K. government agreed to sell the bank to Australia-based consortium that led by Macquarie Group for about 2.3 billion or A$3.92 billion.

Yesterday, the U.K. government confirmed the sale of the state-owned bank and the bank is expected to retain offices in London and Edinburgh and hold the banks assets worth about 140 million.

The bank was set up in 2012 to finance the renewable and low-carbon projects with an investment of approx 800 million per year so far.

""It now makes sense to move it into the private sector where it will be free from the constraints of public sector ownership, allowing it to build further on its success,"" said the U.K.s Climate Change and Industry Minister Nick Hurd.

Publicis Groupe SA advanced 2.5% to 65.53 after France-based marketing and advertising services provider said revenue in the first-quarter ending in March increased 1.6% from a year ago to 2.33 billion and the agency lost media business from Procter & Gamble Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and few other large clients.

""Our first quarter figures send out faint but encouraging signals as to the group''s situation, although organic growth is slightly negative at 1.2%"" chief executive officer Maurice Lvy said.

We expect second-quarter remain in negative territory, but to show an improvement compared to the first-quarter, added Levy.

Nestle SA rose 0.2% to 75.35 Swiss francs after Switzerland-based nutrition, health and wellness products maker said total group sales in the first-quarter ending in March increased 0.5% from a year ago to 21 billion francs.

The packaged food maker said sales growth was weak in confectioneries, including Crunch bars, Kit Kats and Cailler chocolate largely on sales growth in the America of only 0.4% and 0.8% increase in developed markets.

However, comparable sales jumped 4.3% in emerging markets with robust growth in Southeast Asia and in Africa.

Nestle reaffirmed organic sales growth in 2017 between 2% and 4%.

SKY Plc edged up 0.1% to 982.50 pence after the U.K.-based broadcasting and communications services provider reported group revenue in the nine-month period ending in March soared 11% from a year ago to 9.6 billion.

Sky said operating profit in the period plunged 11.4% to 1.01 billion and statutory operating profit declined 12.3% to 703 million from a year ago period.

Core subscription revenue in the period rose 4% to 8.1 billion after net addition of 100,000 new customers in third-quarter and 769,000 in the year to a total of 22.4 million customers.

Unilever NV gained 1.3% to 48.17 after the Netherlands-based consumer goods maker reported underlying sales in the first-quarter ending in March increased 2.9% from a year ago to 13.3 billion and increased its quarterly dividend 12%.

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Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc