IMPROVEMENT IN SERVICES SECTOR BROAD-BASED IN JUNE - PMI - Operating conditions in the Irish services sector have improved again in June. According to the latest update from Investec, the improvement is broad-based with all sectors indicating growth in business activity. New business expanded for the eleventh month in a row and new export business, which expanded for a 23rd successive month, also sped up last month.
Philip O'Sullivan, chief economist at Investec Ireland, says the strengthening figures are due to improvements in the country's key export markets of the UK and US. The economist says he expects this trend to continue into future months. He also notes that ''pleasingly'', the improvements were broad-based across all four sectors - services, financial services, transport & leisure and technology, media & telecoms. The fact that employment levels in the services sector continue to improve is also significant, as decreasing levels of unemployment is key to solving the main challenges facing the economy, the economist says. Mr O'Sullivan says more good news in the survey is the fact that the confidence indicator among services companies is at its highest level in three years. Businesses said they are more confident that recent rises in new business will continue over the coming year.
MORNING BRIEFS - C&C, the cider and beer group, has said that despite difficult trading conditions in the year to date, it expects operating profit for the 2014 financial year to be in the range of €125m to €132m. This would be between a 10% and 16% growth in earnings.
*** Domino's Pizza said its sales in Ireland grew by 5.1% to €12.1 million in the 13 weeks to the end of June. It also said it has just seen its sixth month in a row of positive like-for-like sales growth, leading to growing confidence that the Irish market is now heading into clearer waters. Domino's has 48 Irish stores.
*** Three former executives of Olympus have been given suspended jail terms for up to three years for their roles in an accounting scandal. The former chairman and two executives pleaded guilty last year to charges of falsifying accounts to cover up losses of $1.7 billion. The scandal is one of the biggest financial frauds in Japan's history. It came to light in 2011 after then chief executive Michael Woodford was dismissed from his post after challenging the chairman and the board over suspiciously large payments related to acquisitions.
*** Tullow Oil has issued an operational update saying that over the last two months it has made "major" progress in Kenya and Uganda. It said it expects results from key wells in Kenya, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Norway and Mauritania in the next six months. The statement added that Tullow is ''well placed'' for the remainder of this year and into 2014.
*** The sale announced yesterday of the Dublin Docklands developed CHQ building in the IFSC has made it into the Financial Times. Northern Irish-born but Zambia-raised Neville Isdell - the former head of Coca Cola - spent €10m on CHQ, which cost €47m to develop during the boom. Mr Isdell told the FT he thought Ireland has turned the corner. "There is still pain ahead but if you don't invest when there is some risk you don't get the returns,'' he said.
*** Figures yesterday from real estate agency CBRE showed €603m of commercial property transactions closed in the first six months of this year, more than the figure for the whole of 2012.