Santander`s First-Quarter Profit Benefits Lower Provisions

In the first quarter of the year, Spain’s largest bank, Grupo Santander SAN , earned EUR 1,205 million, up significantly from the EUR 401 million it earned in the trailing quarter. Most of this increase was due to the non-recurrence of special loan loss provisions in the fourth quarter; excluding this, earnings were up 18% sequentially, but down 26% from the year-ago quarter because of … Continue reading Santander`s First-Quarter Profit Benefits Lower Provisions

Bitcoin is a Payment Option for South Africa’s PayFast

PayFast, a leading South African payment processor, started offering the digital currency bitcoin as a payment option, making it available to the firm’s 30,000 merchant customers. It becomes the first payment processor in South Africa, and one of the first anywhere, to offer the cryptocurrency as an option.

The subject of Africa and developing markets is a big one in bitcoin circles; the currency is viewed as a solution to the problems of high money-transfer fees, as well as an opportunity to offer banking services to the billions of so-called “unbanked.”

So far, though, it’s all mainly experimental. A Kenyan startup, BitPesa, began offering a remittance service earlier this year, and there are exchanges in Mexico, Argentina, China, and elsewhere trying to spread adoption of bitcoin.

News on Bitcoins

The company is partnering with BitX, a South African digital-currency exchange, for the bitcoin integration, but PayFast founder and managing director Jonathan Smit acknowledged the move was largely exploratory. He noted that consumers and merchants know very little about bitcoin in the young market.

“We are not really seeing a demand for bitcoin from customers per se, but bitcoin is very much a hot topic on South African lips,” he said in a conversation on Wednesday. Like many other traditional companies that take on crypto currencies, Mr. Smit is essentially launching an experiment. “The position we are taking is not necessarily driven by a clear business case but we are always on the lookout for alternatives and we are always looking for ideas that could become something,” he said.

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BASF`s Crop Protection Products Help Boost Results in First Quarter

In the first quarter, BASF BAS continued to rely on its diversified product mix in what has been a challenging market environment for chemical producers. BASF’s agriculture and oil and gas businesses propped up sales in the first quarter, as revenues increased 4.8% year over year. On a geographic basis, management noted that growth in China was below the firm’s expectations during the quarter. Excluding … Continue reading BASF`s Crop Protection Products Help Boost Results in First Quarter

Bitcoins to be Accepted by Dell For Online Purchases

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) officially announced it accepts Bitcoins for online purchases. This includes purchases on all items on Dell.com. The retailer is accepting Bitcoins as part of a pilot program for U.S. based consumers and small businesses. Should the test go well, the option will expand outside the United States. Dell has just announced that it’s online store now accepts Bitcoins from U.S. consumers and … Continue reading Bitcoins to be Accepted by Dell For Online Purchases

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Top Performing Software Stocks: Amazon.com (NASDAQ AMZN) & Agilent Technologies (NYSE A)

Let us take a look at two Heavyweight Software stocks in the news, Amazon.com (NASDAQ AMZN) & Agilent Technologies (NYSE A). Both promise some upside in their price levels in the future. Here we take a closer look at the two stocks. Amazon.com (AMZN) has recently launched its ebook subscription service, Kindle Unlimited. The new service offers Amazon users access to more than 600,000 Kindle … Continue reading Top Performing Software Stocks: Amazon.com (NASDAQ AMZN) & Agilent Technologies (NYSE A)

Bitcoin Added to Currency Converter by Google

In another sign of Bitcoin adoption, Google Inc (NASDAQ GOOG)’s popular currency conversion calculator will now feature the digital payment method. The adoption of Bitcoin into a currency calculator marks the first time a non-fiat currency has been included in Google’s “currency” convertor. The digital payment method Bitcoin is now the first non-fiat currency to be listed on Google’s currency converter. Operating a Bitcoin exchange … Continue reading Bitcoin Added to Currency Converter by Google