Updates from Netflix, Novartis and GSK


The FTSE 100 climbed more than 41 points before the Easter bank holiday weekend, finishing 0.62% up at 6,625.2. ARM Holdings was the biggest riser, up 4.77% to 976.50p while Schroders also climbed strongly, up 4.24% to 2559p. The biggest loser was Diageo, down 3.74% to 1829p on lower-than-expected Q3 sales.

The Dow Jones ended Friday 40 points higher at 16,449.

We commence with news of £32m in profits for Netflix for the first quarter of the year. The streaming player claims it pulled in around 2.25m new subscribers, taking its total global subscriber tally to 48m.

International performance in Q1 was also strong. Membership grew by 1.75m, claims Netflix, bringing its international total to 12.7m members with 72% more net additions than prior year Q1.

The next quarter will likely see some price rises, possibly between $1-$2 globally. Long-term the company is aiming for 60m subscribers plus. Company shares climbed 6% following its earnings release.

Next, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis are set to create a new combined Consumer Healthcare business with 2013 pro forma revenues of £6.5bn. GSK says it will have majority control with an equity interest of 63.5%.

GSK plans to acquire Novartis' global Vaccines business (excluding influenza vaccines) for $5.25bn with subsequent payments of up to $1.8 billion. Novartis gets GSK's cancer drugs operation for $16bn.

"Opportunities," says GSK chief exec Sir Andrew Witty, "to build greater scale and combine high quality assets in Vaccines and Consumer Healthcare are scarce. With this transaction we will substantially strengthen two of our core businesses and create significant new options to increase value for shareholders."

Lastly, Polymetal claims a stronger start to the year, producing 316 Koz of gold equivalent in the first quarter of 2014, up 34% year-on-year. Growth was also part-driven by increased production at its Dukat hub.

Quarterly gold production was 191 Koz, up 57% year-on-year. Silver production in Q1 was 7.3 Moz, up 14% year-on-year. Sales though lagged production by 46 Koz of gold equivalent as a result of the seasonal factor (New Year holidays at refineries).

Polymetal claims its on track to deliver on its production guidance of 1.3 Moz of gold equivalent in 2014. Revenues for 2013 were hit sharply due to gold and silver price volatility. Polymetal cuts its final dividend $0.08 per share from $0.31 per share.