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Between the lines week 45 - November 2021

Date: 11 November 2021

The obstruction playbook: the companies trying to derail climate policy

According to a new report from the thinktank InfluenceMap, which analysed over 50,000 individual evidence points, the companies most obstructive to positive policy change on climate are using “prolific and highly sophisticated” methods of “narrative capture” to influence governments into following “incredibly dangerous” climate policies.

Companies with the worst climate policy footprint: a top 10 infographic

Travel boom: Expedia shares take flight

Shares in Expedia, the American online travel business whose brands include Expedia.com, Hotels.com, trivago and CarRentals.com jumped 15% on Friday (5 November) following a set of blockbuster third-quarter results.

A 117% increase in gross bookings saw revenue jump 97% (to $2.96bn) with net income for the quarter reaching $362m after chalking up a loss of $221m in the same period last year. Analysts had expected revenue of $2.73bn and earnings of $1.65 per share but the latter came in much higher at $2.26 per share. Within this, revenue from lodging, Expedia’s biggest earner, was up 87% with air revenues up 128%.

Meanwhile, Monday (8 November) saw the US open its borders to international travellers for the first time in 20 months. The country is now open to vaccinated visitors from 33 nations.

The London Heathrow to New York JFK route alone was estimated to be worth around $1bn a year to British Airways whose owner, IAG, last week reported a £2.3bn loss for the first nine months of 2021.

US clocks 39% earnings growth

By Tuesday (9 Nov) 90% of the US S&P 500 index had reported third-quarter earnings numbers. So far, the data represent another tour de force for US companies with 67% reporting better-than-expected sales numbers and 82% delivering a positive earnings surprise.

Based on the numbers to date, the blended earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 now stands at 39.1%, which is on course to be the third-highest annual earnings growth delivered by the index since 2010.

So far, company revenues have grown at 17.3% in the quarter, which is three times the five-year average and five times the 10-year average. Looking ahead, analysts now project US earnings growth north of 20% for the final quarter and 40% for the year as a whole.

In Europe, where 78% of the STOXX 600 had reported, 57% of companies delivered a positive sales surprise with 41% enjoying better-than-expected earnings. Japan’s Nikkei 225, where 74% had reported, showed 44% with positive sales news and 55% with positive earnings news.

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Between the lines week 45

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