Date: Wednesday 28 Jul 2010
With US markets opening on a weak note leading stocks in London have continued their downward drift. US stocks fell back after US durable goods orders in June fell for a second successive month. June’s 1% fall was in contrast to expectations of a rise of similar magnitude.
Centrica is in retreat even after the British Gas owner’s underlying interim profits jumped 65%. Earnings in the half-year to June rose to £886m from £537m on revenues of £11.7bn, barely changed from the previous year. British Gas' profits jumped 98% to £585m
Oil group BG is also on the slide despite delivering a “good” set of second quarter results with revenue up 18%. Operating profit rose 6% to $1.53bn on revenue up to $4.13bn from $3.49bn. Exploration & Production chipped in $746m, up from $728m in 2009, but less than the $825m expected by Charles Stanley.
Engineering firm Invensys takes a large step back. The company expects to deliver an improved performance in the current year, but its shares are also lower. Invensys Operations Management produced a solid performance in the first quarter, according to the group, while at Invensys Controls was in line with expectations.
Higher metal prices boost demand for miners such as Xstrata, Vedanta and BHP Billiton. Rio Tinto is also wanted after Chinese state-owned resources company, Chinalco, which owns a 9% stake in Rio, indicated it would hold a signing ceremony tomorrow at which Rio executives are expected to be present. Market speculation suggests the ceremony could mark a deal between Chinalco subsidiary, Chalco, and Rio Tinto on the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.
Mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse has repeated full-year guidance following better than expected first quarter retail sales.
British American Tobacco is little changed after it upped its dividend by a better than forecast 19% and said it expect another year of good growth in both earnings and dividends. The tobacco firm upped the dividend from 27.9p last year to 33.2p at the interim stage. Broker Charles Stanley expected a rise to 33.1p. Pre-tax profit rose to £2,279m in the six months to 30 June, up from £2,123m in the first half of 2009.
Tullow Oil moved ahead after it announced that the Ngiri-2 appraisal well, which is located in the Butiaba region of Uganda Block 1, has encountered over 40 metres of net oil bearing reservoir in two zones within an overall 131 metre gross oil bearing interval.
Contract caterer Compass has upped its forecast for sales growth this year to 2.5% after an uptick in new business and an improvement in contract retention.
Underwriter Brit Insurance has soared after saying it has granted suitor Apollo access to the books after the US private equity firm submitted a new indicative proposal worth £850m, or £10.75 a share in cash.
Chip maker CSR tumbled after it warned foundry capacity is becoming increasingly constrained.
Yellow Pages publisher Yell has taken a similar battering. It posted a decline in quarterly profit and sales but says it remains confident in future growth.
On the bright side Lamprell, the oil engineering services firm, his wanted after it won a $317m (£204m) contract to supply National Drilling Company (NDC) in Abu Dhabi with two new jackup rigs.
On a busy day for engineering, Bodycote falls after it swung back into profit as demand for its products picks up while full year expectations remain the same, but Renishaw is higher after it tripled full year profit after strong demand in the Far East as it starts the new financial year with a record order book of £23.3m.
Also in engineering, Morgan Crucible saw first half profit more than double and said it enters the second half with good momentum.
EasyJet has lost altitude even after the budget airline's sales rose by 5.3% to £759.2m in the three months to June despite volcanic ash cloud disruption that cost the airline £65m.
Synergy Healthcare, which provides outsourced support services to the health industry, said trading has been in line with expectations for the first quarter and remains on track to meet full year forecasts.
Shares in Individual Restaurant fell sharply after the owner of the high-end Piccolino and Bar & Grill chains said extreme weather early in the year and the football World Cup will cost the company about £600,000 in pre-tax profits in the current year.
Synchronica shares jumped after the provider of mobile email and messaging technology said the mobile subsidiary of Telecom Argentina has launched an email service based on Synchronica's ‘Mobile Gateway.’
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