Updates from HTC, William Hill and easyJet

Strong gains for Sports Direct International, up +5.63% to 769p and Antofagasta, up +4.93% to 820p, helped the FTSE surge almost 50 points to 6,865.2 on Thursday. Imperial Tobacco Group also drew a +3.81% climb to 2698p.

More optimism across the water saw the Dow Jones break the 17,000 barrier yesterday - it ended, pre-Independence day, up 92 points at 17,068.2 thanks in part to more positive employment news. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
We start with a second quarter earnings update from mobile operator HTC. HTC saw net profits of $75.5mn for the quarter ending last month, a substantial 80% hike on this time last year.

The three previous quarters had all seen losses for the company. Much of the push higher was helped by its new One M8 'phone though HTC sales of the device aren't clear for the Taiwanese company.

However HTC still faces formidable competition; Apple is readying a new update of its iPhone while Samsung remains the overall market leader (Samsung's total sales are double that of Apple's).

Next, June passenger stats for easyJet. The airline's load factor in June saw a 2.1% climb to 92.0% (June 2013 was 89.9%). Passenger numbers were substantially higher - up 10.1% to 6,098,364.

However easyJet cancelled 380 flights in June 2014 compared to the 585 flights cancelled in June 2013, predominantly driven by the French Air Traffic Control strike on 24-25 June.

Recently Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts downgraded the stock to Underperform on concerns of market over-capacity, predicting annual profits will come in below expectations.

Lastly, William Hill has appointed James Henderson as Chief Executive of the Group, effective from 1 August 2014. He is appointed to the Board as CEO Designate with immediate effect.

Henderson has been with the Group for 29 years and is currently Group Director, Operations, with oversight for the UK Retail business, Online, William Hill Australia and William Hill US. He takes over from Ralph Topping, standing down on 31 July 2014 after 44 years.

"Whilst we face challenges as an industry," says Henderson, "there are also plenty of opportunities to keep strengthening William Hill by further diversifying our revenues and continuing to build a responsible, sustainable business."

William Hill
Read Full Story