Opening Bell: Apple's record revenues, Vestager speaks, US slams Germany

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Apple posted record revenue in the last three months of 2016, helped by big sales of the iPhone 7.

The company sold more iPhones across the quarter than ever before, generating just over €91 million.

There were also record high sales for Macs, Apple Watches and Apple Services for its crucial fiscal first quarter, though iPad sales dipped 19% year-on-year.

It meant that earnings were up 3% on the same period last year, to €72.6 billion.

Despite beating expectations for sales over the holiday period, it also forecast that current-quarter revenue will fall below estimates as customers hold off purchases to wait for the launch of the 10th anniversary iPhone.

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EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has said that Ireland will receive the bulk of the €13bn the European Commission ruled that Apple owes in back-taxes.

She told the Oireachtas Finance Committee yesterday:

"My guess is the large, large majority of the unpaid taxes would be due in Ireland."

The comments come after Vestager had invited other EU member states to investigate whether they are owed some of the sum.

The Commission's ruling is currently being challenged by the Irish Government, with the case and appeals potentially taking up to five years.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan joked:

"A slow bicycle race between the Apple case and Brexit seems to be emerging now to see which will reach the destination first."

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The Government plans to launch a "rainy day fund" in two years to cope with the fallout from Brexit, the Irish Independent reports.

The 'Action Plan for Jobs', aimed at mitigating the effects of the UK leaving the EU, will also focus on getting women back into the workforce, with €2m in funding disbursed through the Department of Justice, and poaching "globally renowned" workers from Britain.

As well as that, there will be a ramping up of trade missions and tourism initiatives as attempts are made to gain access to new markets – for the beef industry in particular – and the launch of a "town centre revival framework" to support towns and villages around the country.

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US President Donald Trump's chief trade adviser has accused Germany of using the euro to "exploit other countries in the EU as well as the US..."

Peter Navarro, the head of Trump's new National Trade Council called the euro an "implicit Deutsche Mark" and opined that it is "grossly undervalued" in the pages of the Financial Times.

He added that Germany was one of the main obstacles to the US reaching a trade deal with the EU.

Navarro's comments sent the euro to an eight-week high against the dollar.

German chancellor Angela Merkel quickly responded in Stockholm:

"Germany is a country that has always called the European Central Bank to pursue an independent policy, just as the Bundesbank did that before the euro existed.

"Because of that we will not influence the behaviour of the ECB. And as a result, I cannot and do not want to change the situation as it is."