Pick of the early market news

London skylineRecord profits for Cash Convertors provide cheer for that company but the rise in custom in the UK could be take as telling a different story for consumers. We have results too from Group 4 Security and housbuilder Persimmon, plus news of a building society merger.
Cash Convertors reports record profits this morning in its final results for 2011. The company made $27.6m, an increase of 27.5% on the previous year. Total revenue was up 47.6% to just over $186m, driven by a $12.2m increase in personal loan interest.

In the UK, the group's franchised business contributed earnings before deductions of $2.1m as the number of stores rose by 37 to 194. Total customer numbers increased 1,308% to 31,739 and the total principal loand now stands at £10.5m, an increase of 2,052%.

Group 4 Security's half-year results show turnover was up 5% to £3,761m in the six months to 30 June. That took profits before deductions up 3% to £239m. Earnings per share were up 8% to 10p and the interim dividend is up 8% to 3.42p per share.

Chief executive Nick Buckles says the company has "a healthy pipeline of bidding opportunities, particularly in the UK government market" and goes on to say that those opportunities "should come to fruition within the next six to twelve months."

Housebuilder Persimmon reports pre-tax profits were up 52% to £59.7m in the six months to 30 June. The company completed the sale of 4,439 new homes during the period, with an average selling price of £162,647. Earnings per share rose 29% to 15.5p and the interim dividend is up 33% to 4p per share.

Members of the Norwich & Peterborough Building Society have voted in favour of merging with the Yorkshire Building Society. Turnout figures are not given, but of those who voted, 89.61% of eligible savers and 87.22% of eligible borrowers approved the deal.

The FTSE 100 closed the first session of the week up 54 points at 5,095 yesterday, rallying after a poor start. The boost came as oil stocks surged, at one stage putting 111 points on the blue-chip index. In the US, the Dow finished up 37 points at 10,855, stabilising after the recent losses.

In London there was strong speculation that Intel may be about to make a £10bn bid for ARM following HP's recent £7bn buyout of Autonomy, another Cambridge-based technology firm. Those rumours should be confirmed or denied today.

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