The US economy expanded more than previously forecast in the
second quarter, propelled by the biggest gain in business investment in more
than two years, which bodes well for the rest of 2014.
Gross domestic product rose at a 4.2pc annualised rate, up from an initial
estimate of 4pc and following a first-quarter contraction, Commerce department
figures showed yesterday in Washington. The median forecast of 77 economists
surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 3.9pc gain. Corporate profits climbed by the
most in almost four years.
The improvement has carried over into the second half with companies such as
General Electric seeing more orders for equipment and a strengthening job market
underpinning consumer spending, which accounts for about 70pc of the US economy.
Better prospects for growth signal Federal Reserve officials will continue to
wind down monthly asset purchases.
Irish Distillers' successful Jameson brand is
powering ahead in export markets including the US, but the industry is slowing
Sales of Jameson reached 4.7 million cases in the full year 2013-2014, the
company said. That is 9pc higher than the previous year, both globally and in
the US, its biggest single market. By price, the gain was 12pc.
However, the company said sales of all spirits are down 11.5pc in the home
Pub sales, the so-called "on" trade, is down 6pc and off-trade sales have
declined by 13.9pc in terms of volume, Irish Distillers said, citing research
Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Group is back in profit for the first
time since the crash. The Irish construction group is now on course to exit Nama
by the end of the financial year with its loans paid off in full.
The group has repaid €1bn to Nama and other lenders since the downturn and is
back building in Ireland after focusing on London during the crash at home.
The group generated a profit after interest and tax in the year to the end of
March of €43.2m - its first profit since 2008, according to the latest set of
That was primarily driven by a 73pc increase in turnover.
"Ballymore has come through a very difficult period in our 35 year history. It
is a cyclical business. However, the last downturn was no ordinary trading
cycle. Ballymore restructured immediately and implemented a business plan in
conjunction with Nama and our other financial institutions such as Ulster Bank,"
Paul Keogh, Ballymore's chief operating officer, told the Irish Independent.
West Pharmaceutical Services, a $3 billion New York Stock
Exchange-listed pharmaceutical firm, is in talks with the IDA about making an
investment of hundreds of millions in the southeast creating hundreds of new
The talks are understood to be at an advanced stage and initially West Pharma is
understood to be looking at investing a figure in the region of €100 million in
However, the scale of the 45 acre site would give West Pharma the ability to
rapidly ramp up its investment by up to tenfold over a period of years as the
rapidly growing multinational’s needs expand.
Peace, love and harmony – that’s our thing. Honestly. But, oh my,
I opened a can of worms last week when I reported some choice comments by
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary about Christoph Mueller, the chief executive of Aer
O’Leary is well known for a rambunctious attitude towards AL, which often keeps
a polite distance. However, Declan Kearney, AL’s head of communications, is
strongly disputing O’Leary’s comments.
“Aer Lingus is well used to Michael O’Leary’s frequent outbursts, which are not
always rooted in reality, however sometimes we need to set the record straight.
Despite these noisy distractions our focus remains on continuing our success as
Ireland’s quality airline,” said Kearney.
Chris Johns: Economists often complain that they can’t do
laboratory experiments, something which explains why the profession only
pretends to be a science. Because evidence – data – is so sparse, many
controversies remain unsettled. However, the current extraordinary developments
in the British labour market might be one occasion where we can point to
definitive results of an unusual lab-style investigation.
The number of jobs created by the British economy over the past few years has
astonished everybody. And it is not just a story about what happened during the
recovery from the financial crisis: the rise in unemployment during the
recession was muted – it was less than forecast and stands in stark contrast to
the experience of the euro area. For each percentage point of GDP lost by
Britain during the downturn, it shed fewer jobs than virtually any other
Hibernia REIT and IPUT plc both concluded residential and
commercial property deals as activity ramps up to take advantage of a recovering
Hibernia REIT has signed a contract with JJ Rhatigan & Company for the fit-out
and completion of Hibernia’s 213 partially completed apartments in Block 3.
Hibernia said the cost to complete the apartment block is expected to be less
than €25m. The first apartments will be available to let by mid-2015 and the
project will be fully completed by the end of 2015.
Hibernia said it remains in exclusive discussions to acquire Cumberland House
and has provided the owners with a short-term loan of €38m, fully secured on
Cumberland House, with an interest rate of 6%.
Euro Topics: Finland and Sweden on path
to Nato membership: Sweden and Finland will sign a host nation support agreement
with Nato within the next weeks. This will enable the Alliance to deploy
troops to the two Nordic countries, which will then be tasked with their
maintenance and logistics. Nato membership is moving closer, the liberal Finnish
daily Etelä-Suomen Sanomat comments: "No doubt about it, even if the host nation
agreement deepens both Finland's and Sweden's ties to Nato, it still doesn't
make them members of the military alliance. And as long as they don't belong to
Nato they can't hope for any security guarantees. Nonetheless, the host country
agreement shouldn't be underrated. By improving the conditions for taking in and
supplying Nato troops in a crisis it makes Finland and Sweden more compatible
with Nato. This makes the path to Nato membership and the security guarantees it
entails shorter than it was."
France needs a dose of Thatcherism: Three
prominent representatives of the left wing of France's Socialist party have been
left without seats in the cabinet following the reshuffle. Now Paris must
implement reforms without further delay, the left-liberal UK daily The
Independent urges: "Hollande and his new team need some radically different
policies if they are to succeed. ... As Sarkozy could at least recognise,
France, like much of the rest of the eurozone, desperately needs to free up her
labour market; to shrink the size of the state; to relieve business of
burdensome regulation; and to scrap her chauvinistic industrial policy, which
deters foreign investment. A dose, in other words, of Anglo-Saxon Thatcherism as
well as the 'German' austerity is required - alien notions feared and loathed
Global perspectives: IS more dangerous for Mid
East than for West: The growing power of the IS militias in Iraq and Syria poses
a far greater threat to the people of the Middle East than to those in the West,
columnist Sunny Hundal writes on the blog of the Arabic news channel Al Jazeera:
"In the eyes of many jihadis, the Islamic State has established the most
successful and feared caliphate in recent history. That in itself has spurred
many to join it. The immediate goal of the Islamic State is to forcefully take
over other Arab states and bring their subjects under their own banner. The
murder of Americans such as James Foley is meant to shock the world, to bring
attention and attract more support. But make no mistake: The real threat from
the Islamic State is to other Muslims in the Middle East. Sooner or later people
across the Middle East will have to face up to this threat."