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Treasury mulls Rock sale, say reports

The Treasury has begun to investigate the possibility of selling Northern Rock back to the private sector, according to The Times.

The newspaper says that banking investors have been contacted by the Government to find out whether the nationalised bank could be refloated, sold to another institution or remutualised.

Northern Rock currently owes the Government £14.6bn, but has 70 branches across the UK and holds assets in excess of £91bn.

The Times says it understands that neither RBS or Lloyds Bnakign Group would be allowed to bid for the bank thanks to their Government part ownership.

The newspaper says the Treasury has denied its claims.


IFAs fear allocation backlash

Almost 60 per cent of IFAs fear regulatory backlash over their asset allocation decisions in the wake of recent stockmarket volatility, new research from MetLife Europe shows.

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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