Quick view: Japan & US struggle to bridge gap on freer trade

Updated: Apr 23 2014, 10:12am hrs
Japanese and US negotiators have not managed to reach a basic agreement on a free trade pact that might have served as a centrepiece for President Barack Obamas visit to Tokyo this week. Japans economy minister Akira Amari told reporters on Tuesday that the two sides remained at a considerable distance over trade in farm products and vehicles, a day before Obama arrives. A Japan-US agreement is seen as crucial for progress on a wider deal for the 12 nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

CNOOC posts 15.5% rise in Q1 output on Nexen buy

Chinas top offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC on Tuesday posted a 15.5% increase in its first quarter production, thanks largely to its $15.1-billion acquisition of Canadian energy firm Nexen in February last year. Revenue rose 6.9% year-on-year to 59.15 billion yuan ($9.50 billion) in the first quarter as realised oil prices dipped 5.1% to $104.63 per barrel, CNOOC said. The company does not report quarterly profit figures. CNOOC last month posted an 11.4% slide in its 2013 net profit, lagging analysts forecasts, as it struggled to deliver production growth and control costs amid weakening crude prices.

Will cut reserve requirement ratio for rural banks: China

Chinas central bank will cut the reserve requirement ratio for rural banks at the county level by between 0.5 and 2 percentage points, it announced on Tuesday. The Peoples Bank of China will cut the RRR, or amount of deposits banks must hold as reserves, by 2 percentage points for rural commercial banks and by 0.5 percentage point for rural credit cooperatives. The cut is effective from Friday, the central bank said in a statement on its website.

McDs profit trails estimates as sales in US slump

McDonalds, the worlds largest restaurant chain, posted first-quarter profit that trailed analysts estimates as increased competition ate into sales in the US. Net income fell 5.1% to $1.2 billion, or $1.21 a share, from $1.27 billion, or $1.26, a year earlier, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based chain said on Tuesday. Analysts estimated $1.24 a share, the average of 24 projections compiled by Bloomberg. Sales at US locations open at least 13 months slid 1.7%, compared with a 1.4% decline estimated by analysts surveyed by Consensus Metrix..

Philips first quarter sales, earnings see decline

Royal Philips on Tuesday said its first-quarter profits declined as growth slowed in several divisions and consumers spent less on light bulbs. The worlds largest lighting maker said first-quarter net profit was 138 million euros ($190 million), down from 161 million euros in the same period a year earlier. Revenues were down 4.8% to 5.02 billion euros. It said profit margins worsened in part due to restructuring costs. CEO Frans van Houten cited market headwinds in among others, Russia and China, and said the strong euro also hurt reported figures.

Omnicom revenue rises as US ad spending improves

Omnicom Group, the largest US advertising company, reported a 3% rise in quarterly revenue due mainly to higher growth in its home market. Omnicom, which owns agencies such as BBDO Worldwide and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, said revenue rose to $3.50 billion in the first quarter from $3.39 billion a year earlier. US revenue rose 4% in the quarter ended March 31. Net income available for common shareholders rose slightly to $201.4 million, or 77 cents per share, from $199.7 million, or 76 cents per share, a year earlier.

United Tech posts lower quarterly net profit

United Technologies reported a lower quarterly net profit on Tuesday, weighed down by restructuring costs, but the diversified manufacturer gave a rosier profit view for 2014. First-quarter net income fell to $1.21 billion, or $1.32 per share, from $1.27 billion, or $1.39 per share, a year earlier, when the company received some one-time benefits. United Tech projected full-year earnings of $6.65 to $6.85 per share, raising the low end from $6.55.