Opening Bell: KBC profits, Snap shares sink, US considers extending laptop flight ban

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KBC has had a strong start to 2017 - it gained a net profit of €630m during its first quarter.

That was almost 40% higher than the €392m profit registered for the same period 12 months ago, but it was slightly less than the €685m profit returned in the final quarter of 2016.

The bank says first quarter results are "distorted by the booking of upfront banking taxes."

Its Irish operation generated a €70.4m profit after tax and impairments.

It added 17,000 new customer accounts during the quarter.

KBC stated, "deposit volumes, as well as our assets under management, continued to grow in the first quarter 2017."

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Shares in the owner of Snapchat have sunk after it reported disappointing growth in the first three months of the year.

Snap has recorded a net loss of over $2bn in its first ever earnings report.

The number of daily active users grew by 5% to 166 million - but that's still fewer than were expected.

It's shares plummeted by more than 23% in after-hours trading.

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The UK's Labour Party is poised to pledge to re-nationalise energy companies, railways and the Royal Mail in its most left-wing election manifesto in a generation.

Leaked drafts of the manifesto also reveal Jeremy Corbyn is committed to achieving a "nuclear-free world."

Other measures include:

  • Income tax increases for those earning more than £80,000 a year
  • Ensuring 60% of the UK's energy comes from renewable sources by 2030
  • Companies with government contracts would only be allowed to pay their highest earner 20 times more than the lowest
  • Fines for businesses that pay their staff excessivly high wages and a new business levy on some profits

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A number of news outlets, including The New York Times, have reported that the US is set to extend its ban on flying on commercial flights with laptops and other large electronic devices to some European countries.

This action has already been taken for flights from 10 destinations including Qatar, Turkey, the UAE and Saudi Arabi.

US officials fear that these devices could be used to conceal explosives.

The US Department of Homeland Security commented, "No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travellers safe."

 

Additional reporting by IRN