ATLANTA: Coca-Cola said its profit rose in its second quarter as it raised prices, cut costs and benefitted from a gain related to its purchase of a stake in energy drink maker Monster Beverage. It said global beverage volume rose two per cent in the quarter, with revenue climbing four per cent when stripping out the impact of structural changes and currency exchange rates. To offset slower growth and improve its financial performance, Coca-Cola has said it would slash costs and pour some of that money into increased marketing. With Americans cutting back on soda, the firm has also been shifting its strategy to lift prices and promote packages like mini-cans and glass bottles that cost a little more.
SAfrica inflation up
JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s annual inflation rate rose slightly to 4.7 per cent in June, official data showed on Wednesday, ahead of a central bank decision that could see interest rates increase for first time in a year. The 0.1 per cent rise in inflation from previous month was largely driven by the housing and utilities sectors. Nedbank, one of the country’s largest lenders, said 4.7 per cent figure was lower than market expectations of five per cent. It predicted inflation would ‘continue its upward trend this year’ — citing higher food prices and a weaker rand dollar exchange rate. Reserve Bank’s target range is between three and six per cent.
US home sales surge
WASHINGTON: Americans bought homes in June at the fastest rate in over eight years, pushing prices to record highs as buyer demand has eclipsed supplies. The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes climbed 3.2 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million, the highest rate since February 2007. Sales have jumped 9.6 per cent over the past 12 months, while the number of listings has risen just 0.4 per cent. Strong job gains since 2014 and relatively low mortgage rates have generated increased demand. But the market has just five months’ supply of homes, compared to an average of six months in a healthy market.
EasyJet outlook rosy
LONDON: British low-cost airline EasyJet forecast on Wednesday that annual profits would rise by almost 14 per cent, buoyed by demand for beach holidays in Europe. Shares surged after EasyJet predicted pre-tax profit would grow to between £620 million and £660 million in its 2014-15 financial year to the end of September. That compared with £581 million in the company’s previous fiscal year, EasyJet said in an upbeat statement on its third quarter or three months to the end of June.
Telenor earnings rise
OSLO: Norwegian telecoms operator Telenor said on Wednesday second-quarter profits rose 56.7 per cent on the same period in 2014 to 3.64 billion kroner ($450 million). The boost came from rising data traffic in Scandinavia for 4G communications and demand in Asia, Telenor said.