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Halifax improves rates on cash Isas

Halifax is improving its savings rates with a new fixed-rate cash ISA for the new tax year.

The ISA Saver aims to tempt investors with a home for their current and previous years&#39 ISA subscriptions and for matured TESSA funds. The minimum investment is £3,000. Fixed terms of one to five years are available. At maturity, roll over options will be offered, but any early closures will require a 30-day notice and a 180-day interest penalty.

The interest rate for the investment is fixed from the account opening day and guaranteed for the term. Initial rates will range from 4.75 per cent to 5.6 per cent, depending on the term.

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Apple: a stellar technology story

By Ali Unwin, head of technology sector research

Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.

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