Europe biz: Barclays profits down 80%, Unilever uses AI in job interviews
Gary Parkinson
Barclays profits tank on PPI hit (Credit: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Barclays profits tank on PPI hit (Credit: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Barclays profits down by 80%

Barclays reported a profits slump of more than 80 percent after setting aside a further provision of $1.78 billion against PPI mis-selling claims. Taking that hit slashed third-quarter profits from $1.92 billion to $316 million. 

Barclays' PPI costs have now risen to $14.14 billion of the banking industry's total $46 billion bill. On Thursday, Royal Bank of Scotland announced its own $1.16 billion provision against PPI. Barclays chief executive Jes Staley warned that "next year is unquestionably more challenging now than it appeared a year ago."

UK's four mobile giants target rural 'not-spots'

The UK's four biggest mobile phone operators are to team up with the government in a $1.3 billion plan to end rural "not-spots" of poor network coverage. EE, O2, Vodafone and Three will spend $684m over the next 20 years, with the government suggesting it could match the contribution but its involvement is not yet a "done deal". 

The stated aim is to get 4G coverage to 95 percent of the UK by 2025 via a Shared Rural Network. At the moment, around a third of the country has patchy or non-existent coverage. The government had threatened to enforce the ability for customers to roam onto each other's networks, which the companies insisted would deter investment. 

Read more How remote villages are pioneering hyperfast broadband 


Renault dips on diesel downturn (Credit: Charly Triballeau / AFP)

Renault dips on diesel downturn (Credit: Charly Triballeau / AFP)

Renault blames revenue drop on Nissan and Daimler

Renault has pinned a third-quarter fall in group revenue on decreased production at its partners Nissan and Daimler, along with a declining demand for diesel engines in a slowing global market. 

The groups third-quarter sales by volume fell 4.4 percent to 852,198 vehicles, dragging revenue down 1.6 percent to $12.56 billion. Renault had mentioned the weaker revenue in a profit warning last week, after which shares fell. 


Unilever using AI to assess job interviews 

Unilever has said it is replacing human recruiters with an artificial intelligence system, saving hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. The consumer goods multinational claims the system has saved 100,000 hours of Human Resources time in the last year by using software which analyses video interviews. 

Provided by US company HireVue, the AI software scans interviewees' body language, facial expressions like furrowed brows and smiles, and use of language such as active or passive phrases. Similar systems have been used by Vodafone, Intel and Singapore Airlines. 

Read more Should I worry about gender bias in artificial intelligence?

German morale is flagging (Credit: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

German morale is flagging (Credit: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

German consumer morale at its lowest in three years

Job losses and economic slowdown have helped tip the mood among German consumers to its lowest point in three years, according to a survey published on Friday. The Nuremberg-based GfK institute surveyed 2,000 Germans and found them at their bleakest since November 2016.

Germany's export-dependent sectors have struggled amid trade conflicts and fears of a no-deal Brexit, and Europe's largest economy is expected to dip into recession for the next quarter. The section of the GfK survey measuring economic expectations fell to its lowest since December 2012.

US reporting season has made for lively action on equities markets this week. Tech titan Amazon reported another quarter of sales growth above 20 percent, but increased shipping costs cut the firm's bottom line. Shares fell 9 percent - $80 billion of market share.

The UK's biggest payday loan provider - yes, there are still some in business - will close, with thousands of complaints about its lending still unresolved. QuickQuid's owner, US-based Enova, says it will leave the UK market "due to regulatory uncertainty."

Oil rallies could be limited in scope since supply is plentiful on international markets. Traders say the recent rally has been built on shaky foundations of hopes of a mini-trade deal in November and further OPEC cuts in December.

As Europe debates the scale and scope of a Brexit extension, in the UK Chancellor Sajid Javid postponed his first budget statement which was due on 6 November because of all the Brexit to-ing and fro-ing and the government's attempts to call an early election. Sterling didn't like it, but analysts say the sell-off is likely to be fleeting since the possibility of a hard Brexit seems ever doubtful.

At the last press conference of his eight-year term, the ECB's Mario Draghi left things on a gloomy note, warning that slowing global growth and Brexit uncertainty pose a risk to growth in the eurozone economy amid concerns that Germany remains on the brink of recession. What a legacy!

His successor Christine Lagarde could try to start off with a steady hand to avoid ruffling too many feathers in the Governing Council, but in the medium term it is expected that she will lower the ECB's perhaps too optimistic growth forecasts further.

Source(s): Reuters