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New York shares see red; JP Morgan's profits fall


Shares in New York started on the backfoot with really only one corporate name in focus.

The giant investment bank JP Morgan reported a lower-than-expected 19% drop in first-quarter earnings, as earnings season now begins.

The numbers were hit by weak revenue from fixed-income trading and mortgages, it said. The result missed expectations on Wall Street.

JP Morgan reported a profit of US$5.27 billion compared to US$6.53 billion a year earlier, while revenue was down 7.7% to $23.86 billion.

Meanwhile, also in focus was Wells Fargo & Co, whose Q1 results conversely beat expectations on the street.

The firm reported a healthy 14% rise in net income.

The benchmark Dow was down 68 points, at 16,103, while the tech heavy Nasdaq, which fell 3% yesterday, was down again -eight points. The S&P 500 lost 3 to go to 1,830.

Also a bit of tech news story today, amid an almost two week long sell off in the sector, Samsung launched its latest version of smartphone, the Galaxy S5, in a bid to put a bigger dent in the sales of Apple’s iPhone.

Samsung’s cheaper smartphone, which runs on Android, last year outsold the iPhone two-to-one, capturing 30% of the market, but appetite for smartphones has slowed generally now that much of the mass-market has adopted one of the two platforms.

Meanwhile, in London, FTSE 100 continued to take its cue from the US and was down over 95 points at 6,546 and is now heading for a weekly loss.

ARM Holdings (LON:ARM), the chip designer, was one of Footsie's biggest losers  - shedding 5.2%.

Airlines were also joined the laggards on Friday, with budget carrier easyJet down along with IAG.

Heathrow airport's monthly traffic statistics revealed that 5.8 million passengers passed through the airport last month - down 2.8% on 2013.

Supermarkets were having a better day after recent pressure in the sector - Morrison (LON:MRW) adding 1.47% and Sainsburys (LON:SBRY) was up a tad at 0.10%.

Low-cost African airline Fastjet (LON:FJET) was a notable riser after it said it raised £11mln in a placing and subsequently ended its equity financing facility with Darwin Strategic.

The company issued 687.5mln new shares (around 112% of the existing share capital) at 1.6p, a slight discount to the market price (1.8p at Wednesday’s close).

Directors, including chief executive Ed Winter and finance chief Angus Saunders, have accounted for around £1mln of the £11mln, while Sir Stelios Haji-Iannou’s easyGroup also invested £1mln in the placing.

Baobab Resources (LON:BAO) edged higher by 1.15% after it received encouraging results from a second round of metallurgical test work on ore from the Tenge block of its Tete pig iron project in Mozambique.

A final alloy of almost 99% iron was produced from the bench-scale beneficiation, reduction and smelting tests, far purer than required for a commercial pig iron product.

Critically, said the company, the tests indicated that titanium and vanadium could be removed from the pig iron as separate by-products.

A riser in the sector was TomCo Energy (LON:TOM), which added 6.9%, while in mining, Weatherly International (LON:WTI) added 9.52% to 0.25p.

Quick facts: JPMorgan Chase & Co

Price: 119.74 USD

Market: NYSE
Market Cap: $364.99 billion

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