Apple has unveiled a $3,499 (£2,814) headset called the Vision Pro in the tech giant’s most significant product launch since the iPhone, promising that it will be “a new kind of computer”.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the new headset – its first major hardware launch for almost a decade – "seamlessly blends the real world and the virtual world".
The headset has a two-hour battery life and will be released early next year in the US. It combines virtual reality with augmented reality, which overlays digital images on top of the real world.
The cost is considerably more than virtual reality headsets currently on the market. Last week Meta announced its Quest – which costs $449, about 12 times cheaper.
Apple shares hit a record high ahead of the announcement, rising more than 2% to $184.91 and topping the previous record set in January 2022, before falling back as the headset was unveiled. The shares ended the day 0.8% lower at $179.58.
Still, Apple’s stock is up more than 38.2% year to date, while the NASDAQ (^IXIC) is up around 26.4% for the same period.
British American Tobacco (BATS.L)
British American Tobacco has said it gained 900,000 customers smoking new tobacco products like vapes and e-cigarettes in the first financial quarter, amid plans to encourage smokers away from traditional cigarettes.
Shares rose climbed inched 0.19% higher after its new boss committed himself to the existing ‘A Better Tomorrow’ strategy, saying “smokers must have access to better choices.”
“Put simply, smokers must have access to better choices. This is already a reality for smokers who have made the switch to our reduced-risk product,” chief executive Tadeu Marroco said in his first trading update.
The tobacco giant said it is on track for tobacco alternatives to hit £5bn in revenue by 2025 and to be profitable by 2024.
The group expects organic revenue growth of between 3% and 5% in the year ahead, with sales impacted by the sale of its Russian and Belarusian businesses set to close in 2023. It stuck by its guidance for the full financial year.
Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: “British American Tobacco is in a difficult place at the moment, with some previous ghosts coming back to haunt the group’s prospects.”
“The general backdrop has accelerated the need to change horses midstream and the new chief executive has confirmed that the current strategy will continue to be pursued, which should at least provide some momentum,” he added.
Manager of the quality shares Portfolio at Wealth Club Charlie Huggins, noted: 'It is hard to describe BATS' future as anything other than highly uncertain. Its high margin, core combustibles business is in steady decline, with scope for that decline to accelerate as the shift to reduced risk Next Generation Products (NGPs) gathers pace.”
Associated British Foods (ABF.L)
Primark owner Associated British Foods shares were flat after revealing it will buy a diary data company which helps farmers get maximum milk production from their cows.
AB Foods will acquire dairy technology company National Milk Records (NMR) for £48m to boost its agri-food unit.
"NMR is a high-quality business which is extremely complementary and additive to our dairy strategy and offering to the dairy industry," said Jose Nobre, head of AB Foods' AB Agri unit.
AB Foods will pay 215p a share in cash for NMR, representing an 87% premium on the company’s closing price on Monday.
NMR's board has recommended ABF's 215 pence per share cash offer and AB Foods said that it had already received backing for the deal from investors holding about 69% of shares, close to the 75% threshold needed to approve the deal.
If accepted by shareholders, the deal should take effect during the third quarter of this year.
AB Agri is ABF's international agri-food business with a presence in more than 80 countries, employing over 3,000 people internationally.
SSE shares slid after SSE Generation said it would pay a £9.8m fine for breaching its licence after securing excessive payments from the National Grid Electricity System Operator for reducing output at Foyers power station, Britain's energy watchdog said.
Ofgem said it had not seen any evidence which suggested that the breach was deliberate but found that SSE changed its pricing strategy for Foyers storage power station knowing that the revision would breach the licensing conditions.
“This enforcement action sends another strong signal to all generators that they must put in place controls to ensure that their bid prices are set in a way that ensures that they do not obtain excessive benefits during transmission constraint period,” Cathryn Scott, director of enforcement and emerging issues at Ofgem, said.
“If they fail to do so, they will face significant consequences,” she added.
SSE co-operated with the investigation and expressed its willingness to settle the case.
Watch: Augmented reality headset Vision Pro is ‘most advanced device ever’ – Apple