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The Business Matrix: Friday 25 January 2013

Apple slips on smartphone fears

Apple's shares fell by 12 per cent yesterday, their biggest percentage drop in more than four years and slicing more than $50bn from the company's value, as disappointing iPhone sales over the Christmas period reinforced fears it is losing its dominance in smartphones. Shares have fallen 35 per cent since hitting a peak on 19 September.

Nokia returns to profitability

Nokia, once the world's largest phone company, has returned to profitability after an 18-month spell in the red. The Finnish technology group posted a pre-tax profit of €375m (£315m) during the last three months of 2012, compared with a €974m loss a year earlier. The company sold 15.9 million smartphones during the period.

Sony slammed for data failure

Legal experts hailed a decision by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to fine Sony £250,000 for failing to stop hacking of personal data belonging to Playstation users, saying it showed the watchdog "has teeth".

The ICO ruled Sony could have done more to protect customers' credit-card details.

St James's Place hails 'new normal'

Wealth manager St James's Place yesterday said investors were getting to grips with the "new normal" of economic turmoil, low interest rates and high taxes as it posted record fourth-quarter figures.

It said investors no longer feared Europe's debt crisis and were now willing to part with their money again.

Ladbrokes buys Irish exchange

Ladbrokes has snapped up Irish betting exchange Betdaq for €30m (£25m) to boost its online business.

The deal is chief executive Richard Glynn's first since taking over at the bookmaker three years ago. He previously pulled out of talks to buy 888 and Sportingbet.

Bank's cash boosts mortgage lending

The Bank of England's cheap billions on offer through its Funding for Lending scheme continue to flood the mortgage market, the British Bankers' Association said yesterday.

Mortgage approvals rose for the sixth month in a row to 33,636, slightly up on November.

Profits slump at Chemring

Military defence equipment maker Chemring reported a 42 per cent slump in full-year profits and slashed its dividend by more than half.

The company warned that the market would remain tough this year as it reported a £70.1m profit and a 4.2p dividend.

Stock Exchange's 6% rise a surprise

Strong revenues from data firms helped the London Stock Exchange beat City forecasts in the past three months despite a decline in derivatives trading.

Chief executive Xavier Rolet said the 6 per cent rise to revenues of £209m emphasised the diversity of the business.

Saatchi takes Merlin stake

Advertising group M&C Saatchi has bought a majority stake in talent management agency Merlin Elite.

It plans to develop revenue streams and build intellectual property rather than just persuade brands to use acts in ads.

Medical software firm's shares fall

Shares in Emis, the medical software firm, crashed nearly 17 per cent after it admitted higher staff costs on a new web system would hit this year's profit.

The company makes software that allows health workers to view patients' medical records.

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