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China continues on the road to recovery

China’s economy continued to rebound in the third quarter, with GDP growth of 4.9%, compared to a year earlier.

IBM struggles to reach the $1trn cloud

Shares in the technology stalwart IBM fell around 3% in extended trading on Monday (19 Oct) after it reported a third consecutive decline in quarterly revenue.

IBM recorded total revenues of $17.6bn, in-line with estimates, however this was a fall of 2.6% compared to the same period in 2019. It recorded revenue falls of 4% in its Global Technology Services and 5% in its Global Business Services divisions, while its Systems business declined 15%.

However, its Cloud and Cognitive Software division saw revenue increase by 7% in the quarter, with the cloud and data platforms business recording a 20% rise in revenues, led by Red Hat. These figures support IBM’s announcement earlier this month that it is spinning off the Managed Infrastructure Services unit of its Global Technology Services division into a new public company to allow it to focus on hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Chief executive Arvind Krishna said the separation of the businesses would better position IBM to “seize the $1trn hybrid cloud opportunity.”

Pandemic boosts consumer goods giants

Shares in UK-based Reckitt Benckiser and US-based Procter & Gamble (P&G) improved in Tuesday’s trading (20 Oct) as their quarterly earnings highlighted increased demand for household cleaning and laundry products.

Reckitt Benckiser, the owner of brands such as Dettol and Lysol, recorded a 13.3% increase in group quarterly sales on a likefor- like basis, led by its Hygiene and Health divisions, driven by strong demand for disinfectants.

Meanwhile, P&G recorded a 9% increase in net sales in the quarter, noting that organic sales in its Home Care segment increased more than 30% driven by increases in consumer demand for home cleaning products during the pandemic.

Following the positive results, Reckitt Benckiser moved its full-year 2020 net revenue growth outlook from ‘high single digits’ to ‘low double digits’. P&G, which operates on a fiscal year to the end of June, increased its all-in sales growth guidance from a range of 1-3% to a range of 3-4%, adding it expects to pay approximately $8bn in dividends for the 2021 fiscal year.