Updates from Lloyds, Barclays and Apple

The FTSE 100 leapt exactly +2.00% yesterday - up 125 points - to 6,406.12 thanks partly to better US domestic economic news. Chip maker ARM Holdings saw the biggest climb, surging almost +12% while miner Fresnillo suffered a -2.15% slip.

Overnight, Asian markets consolidated the optimism with the Nikkei 225 up +2.06% to 13,807; the Hang Seng was up +1.48%. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
First, the shock news from Lloyds that the Co-op plan to snap up 630 Lloyds branches has collapsed. The Co-op blames the abandonment of its plans on continued economic worries plus a more pressured regulatory environment.

"Against the backdrop of the current economic environment," Co-op chief exec Peter Marks said, "the worsened outlook for economic growth and the increasing regulatory requirements on the financial services sector in general, the Verde transaction would not currently deliver a suitable return for our members."

The sale was known as Project Verde. It's also a big disappointment for Chancellor George Osborne who had been hoping a new major competitor in the high street banking sector would invigorate UK lending.

Next, Barclays and a 25% slump in first quarter profits. The sharp fall is blamed on substantial restructuring work with its investment banking arm, not to mention tweaking of its private wealth and investment operation. Adjusted profit before tax for the bank - hit by a rash of scandals and high profile resignations - falls £609m to £1,786m.

Statutory profit before tax improved to £1,535m (Q1 12: £525m loss), reflecting a reduced own credit charge of £251m (Q1 12: £2,620m) says Barclays. Income declined -6% to £176m driven by lower net interest income and lower fees and commissions, a result of reduced mortgage volumes says the bank.

"Although the macroeconomic environment remains unpredictable," said Barclays, "as part of the Transform programme, we continue to focus on costs, returns and capital to drive sustainable performance improvements."

Lastly, iPhone/iPad maker Apple and the first profits slump for almost a decade. Second quarter numbers for the tech consumer giant slipped to $9.56bn, down $2.12bn from this time last year. It's thought higher component costs bit into margins; growing competition also hasn't helped.

New boss Tim Cook claims he is excited about "products in our pipeline". He needs to be because the last big announcement from Apple was last October with the iPad Mini. There has been a dearth of product launches since.

Apple has lost approximately 40% of its value since the early autumn when shares crested more than $700. Currently Apple shares sell for $406. The company says it plans to buy back $60bn in shares as well as hiking its dividend +15%.

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