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Apple achieves milestone as market cap exceeds $3 trillion

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In a historic moment for the tech giant, Apple Inc. has officially crossed the remarkable milestone of a $3 trillion market capitalisation.

The Cupertino-based company’s stock soared to new heights, closing at a record-breaking valuation, solidifying its position as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company.

Apple’s journey to this extraordinary market cap began decades ago in a garage, and today it stands as a testament to innovation and consumer demand. The company’s relentless pursuit of cutting-edge technology, coupled with its successful product lineup, has consistently attracted investors and consumers alike.

Investors and analysts are now pondering what lies ahead for Apple as it reaches this monumental valuation.

Will it continue its upward trajectory, or are there challenges on the horizon? With competitors in the tech space continually evolving, maintaining this valuation will undoubtedly be no easy feat.

One question that remains on everyone’s mind is, can Apple sustain its impressive market cap growth? Additionally, how will this achievement impact the broader technology sector?

Furthermore, what strategies will Apple employ to continue its dominance in the market? These are questions that experts and enthusiasts alike will be closely monitoring in the coming months.

In the midst of a rapidly changing tech landscape, Apple’s market cap reaching $3 trillion marks a significant moment not only for the company but for the entire industry.

As the company continues to innovate and expand its product offerings, the world watches with bated breath to see if it can maintain its position as the global tech juggernaut.

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Money

Brad Banducci quits as Woolworths Australia CEO after TV blow-up

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Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci has revealed his decision to step down from his position, with Amanda Bardwell, head of loyalty and e-commerce, slated to succeed him as chief executive in September.

Bardwell’s appointment marks a historic moment as she becomes the first woman to lead the company in its nearly 100-year history.

Banducci’s departure comes at a critical juncture for Woolworths and its competitor, Coles, as they brace for an upcoming Senate inquiry led by the Greens.

The inquiry, scheduled for next month, is expected to scrutinise higher grocery costs, which Canberra has blamed for inflating supermarket profit margins at the expense of consumers.

Supermarket investigation

In addition to the Senate inquiry, Labor has urged the competition regulator to investigate the supermarkets, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese suggesting potential abuse of market power by the retailers.

Woolworths chairman Scott Perkins clarified that Banducci’s succession timeline was not accelerated in response to the scrutiny faced by the supermarket industry.

Perkins stated that interviews with potential candidates for the CEO position had been ongoing since the latter half of the previous year.

“There has been an ongoing dialogue with Brad,” Perkins told media. “There was no change to the timetable, no expedition at all.”

Importance of authenticity

Banducci acknowledged that he had considered delaying his departure but ultimately decided against it, citing the importance of authenticity. Despite the challenges facing the industry, he expressed confidence in Bardwell’s ability to lead Woolworths into the future.

Analysts reacted to the news with a mix of surprise and caution.

In financial terms, Woolworths’ food retail division reported a 5.2 percent increase in sales, or 6.6 percent excluding tobacco.

However, the company noted a moderation in prices, with average increases of 1.3 percent in the last three months of 2023.

Despite this, margins continued to improve, and earnings for the division rose by 8.2 percent.

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Money

Walmart reports holiday sales as shoppers seek better value

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Walmart disclosed its fourth-quarter earnings showcasing a surge in sales during the holiday season, offering early insights into consumer spending trends amid a crucial period.

Despite a challenging economic climate, Walmart reported a 4 percent increase in comparable store sales for the three months ending in late January compared to the previous year.

The number of transactions also saw a notable uptick, rising by 4.3 percent. However, there was a slight decline of 0.3 percent in the average ticket price, indicating a tendency among shoppers to spend marginally less during their shopping trips.

The retail behemoth witnessed a significant boost in its online sales, with a 17 percent increase in the U.S. market and a remarkable 23 percent surge globally, surpassing the $100 billion mark. Walmart’s Chief Financial Officer, John David Rainey, attributed this growth partly to cost-saving measures in their e-commerce operations and the rising adoption of Walmart’s delivery services.

Discretionary purchases

While the e-commerce sector saw substantial gains, there was a noted decrease in discretionary purchases such as electronics, as consumers prioritized essential items amidst economic uncertainties.

Walmart’s emphasis on value and affordability played a pivotal role in driving sales, particularly in its grocery segment.

The company’s CEO, Doug McMillon, highlighted Walmart’s commitment to offering competitive prices, leveraging its substantial grocery business.

In a strategic move to enhance its offerings, Walmart announced the acquisition of television manufacturer Vizio in a deal worth $2.3 billion, further expanding its Walmart Connect advertising and media business.

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Money

Millions of Australians are struggling with credit card repayments

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Recent research has revealed a concerning trend: a significant number of Australians are falling behind on their credit card repayments, highlighting the financial strain faced by many households.

According to Finder’s Credit Card Report 2024, approximately 13% of Australian credit card holders, equivalent to nearly 1.8 million individuals, have missed at least one repayment in the past three months.

Of this group, 8% have fallen behind by 30 days, while 4% have missed payments by 60 days.

Read more – Is Paypal bringing back old school credit cards?

Alarmingly, 2% of cardholders have delayed repayments by more than 60 days.

Prevalent misuse

Amy Bradney-George, a credit card expert at Finder, expressed concern over the prevalent misuse of credit cards, attributing it partly to the escalating cost of living.

Bradney-George warned that missing a credit card payment often incurs late fees and interest charges, exacerbating financial burdens for individuals.

Bradney-George emphasised the detrimental impact of late payments on credit scores.

She highlighted that a missed payment can be recorded on a credit file within just 14 days, potentially affecting an individual’s ability to secure loans or new credit cards in the future.

With details of late payments lingering on credit reports for up to two years, the consequences could be long-lasting.

Currently, there are over 13 million credit cards in circulation across Australia, accumulating a national debt of $18.1 billion subject to interest charges.

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