Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:
Heineken sales and profits slide
The Dutch beer giant posted an 19.2% decline in net revenue in the first half of 2020 to €11.16bn (£10.03bn, $13.13bn), as measured under international financial reporting standards (IRFS). Its preferred measure of organic growth showed a 15.5% hit to net revenue.
Operating profit under IRFS slid 94.8% to €85, while net profit was wiped out—down 131.7% to a loss of €297m.
But the company said in the second quarter, sales by volume of its leading eponymous beer brand were up by double-digits in 14 markets, including the UK, Germany, Brazil and China. Across Europe as a whole, “organic” sales volumes of its best-known beer were down 8.5% in the second quarter.
Sales of other brands Sol, Tiger, and Amstel also declined, though Desperados recorded growth.
The coronavirus crisis and worsening tensions between the US and China dealt a double blow to HSBC (HSBA.L) during the first half of its financial year, with pre-tax profits plunging 65% to $4.3bn.
The figure for the six months to 30 June came in well below the forecasts of analysts, who had predicted that the UK’s largest lender would pull in $5.67bn during the period.
The Asia-focused bank said on Monday that its financial performance was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, market volatility, low interest rates, and “increased geopolitical risk.”
European stocks rose on Monday, as a leading business survey showed most manufacturers across the eurozone returning to growth in July as coronavirus lockdowns eased.
Rising demand saw manufacturing activity expanding in the eurozone last month for the first time since January 2019, according to new purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data on Monday.
The headline figure on IHS Markit’s closely watched PMI survey for eurozone manufacturing rose to 51.8 in July. It follows months of plummeting output as COVID-19 wreaked havoc with both supply and demand, though the decline had levelled off in June with a 47.5 reading. Figures above 50 show most firms surveyed are reporting growth.
The final headline figures for national economies came in at 51 in Germany, 52.4 in France, 53.5 in Spain, 51.9 in Italy, and 53.3 in Britain. A measure specifically measuring output also showed a return to growth in July, hitting 55.3, the highest rate of expansion since April 2018.
European stocks had been mixed at the open, but every leading index was trading flat or higher after the figures were released. The pan-European Stoxx 600 (^STOXX) was up 0.4%, and the Stoxx 50 (^STOXX50E) was up 0.7%.
Asian stocks had been mixed overnight. Stocks in Shanghai (000001.SS rose 1.8% as a private-sector survey showed Chinese factory activity grew at the fastest pace in almost a decade in July. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) gained 2.2%, but the Hang Seng (^HSI) index in Hong Kong shed 0.7%.