Morning business news - July 22

Tuesday 22 July 2014 10.55
Morning business news - July 22
Morning business news - July 22

Yesterday the Financial Times published an editorial calling on the European Central Bank to proceed with some form of quantitative easing - effectively increasing the flow of money in the euro zone - to get it out of its low inflation trap.

It came as the ECB introduced a number of changes to make its operations more transparent, including a move to six weekly meetings and the publication of minutes of meetings.

Lorcan Roche Kelly of Agenda Research said the notes won't be as detailed or as transparent as the US Fed or the Bank of England.

"The ECB doesn't want to attach names to actions. The ECB is made up of national heads of central banks. If they have their name attached to votes, there will be a perception of national interest to act rather than in the European interest," he said.

He explained that the rationale behind the change to six-weekly rather than monthly meetings was to reduce the expectation of action every time the ECB meets.

On the quantitative easing proposal, Lorcan Roche Kelly said there was a likelihood that the ECB would carry out some form of asset purchases.

"The ECB has resisted the move until now because its mandate is to look after inflation. It's not allowed to do monetary easing. No such controls exist in the US where they can buy freely," he explained.

"However, the ECB can buy assets if inflation is low and expectations remain low. Inflation has remained below 1% since December. It's failing on its inflation targets so that's a trigger for it to increase asset purchases," he concluded.

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Profits at video streaming service Netflix more than doubled in the second quarter to $71 million.

Revenue from its streaming content service was up nearly 50% to $1.2bn.

The company now has more than 50 million streaming video subscribers - 36.2 million in the US and 13.8 million in the rest of the world.

It added 1.69 million users between March and June alone.

Shares in Netflix - which are already up 22% for the year - rose nearly 2% in trading after US stock markets had closed to just below $452.

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The property investment group Hibernia REIT - one of the newest additions to the Irish stock exchange - has a management statement out in advance of its AGM today.

Since April, it's completed eight acquisitions totalling €267m, primarily in the central Dublin office sector. 

That sector now accounts for around 75% of its portfolio with the remainder being made up of office development land, Dublin residential and industrial assets.

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Yahoo has acquired the app analytics firm, Flurry, to help boost its advertising revenue from smartphones.

Many social media and internet companies are struggling with the move from desktop to mobile with the cost per click - the price that advertisers pay each time someone clicks on an ad - falling.

Flurry helps app developers analyse data about their users and deliver more personalised ads to them.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed but Yahoo is thought to have paid between $200-300 million.

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The board of Time Warner - which was subject to a takeover attempt from Rupert Murdoch last week - has changed its rules to stop shareholders from calling a special meeting to approve a quick takeover.

Time Warner previously allowed as few as 15% of its shareholders to call a special meeting.

The move was revealed in a regulatory filing yesterday; it wasn't pre-empted by an investor taking up large amounts of shares.

Last week, it was revealed that Murdoch's 21st Century Fox had launched a bid for Time valuing it at $85bn.