Opening Bell: Budget 2016 leads to modest income bounce, the IDA on Pfizer's Irish move, Slack growth plans

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Giveaways in Budget 2016 have led to a 0.7% increase in total household disposable income according to new research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

On average families are still 10% worse off than they were before Ireland's financial crisis.

Using a sample of more than 4,500 homes, the ESRI found that households with lower incomes saw almost no change in their financial health, while higher income households enjoyed increases of between 0.5% and 1%.

This bucks a trend which saw household incomes reduce after every other budget since 2009.

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The controversial merger of pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Allergan represents an "opportunity" for Ireland according to IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan.

Speaking to the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Shanahan said that there is a "disproportionate focus on tax nationally and internationally in relation to Ireland."

Pfizer plans to move its headquarters to Ireland where Allergan is already based. The 'tax inversion' deal will allow the company to take advantage of Ireland's low corporation tax rate.

This move has been widely criticised in the US and has become a live issue in the US presidential race.

"When the merger happens we will work with them jointly and we will look at it as an opportunity to increase the substance of [the company's] operations further as they transfer their headquarters here," Mr Shanahan added.

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Professional messaging app Slack has announced that it intends to launch a $80m startup fund in conjunction with a number of investment firms to fund new projects.

Slack launched in 2014 and has grown its user base to over 2 million active users - the fund will invested in “Slack-first” applications to work in conjunction with Slack's current service.

The 'big picture' aim is to establish a suite of services which will exist around the base messaging app.

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Amazon customers who bought hoverboards have been told to throw them away by the retail website.

It comes just days after the site appeared to have stopped selling the must-have Christmas gadget amid reports of some models exploding or catching fire.

In an email sent to customers, who bought hoverboards with "non-compliant UK plugs", the firm said to "dispose of this product as soon as possible".

The email added: "We regret the inconvenience this may cause you but trust you will understand that your safety and satisfaction is our highest priority."

It also said full refunds would be made to those people affected.

 

Additional reporting by IRN