Pick of the early market news

London skylineIt looks like stormy weather all round today, with the rain sweeping the country doing little to lift the mood after yesterday's carnage on the markets. We've got a brief round-up of yesterday on the markets, plus fresh results from Whitbread, Betfair and McBride.
The market didn't just fall yesterday, it crashed, with the £49bn that was wiped off the value of the FTSE 100 taking the losses sustained by the UK's leading companies to £82bn in two days. The exchange lost 189 points to close at 5,103.

Banks took the brunt of the losses as worries about global recession and the crisis in Eurozone mounted. Royal Bank of Scotland took the biggest hit, closing down 12% at 21.78p. Lloyds shares closed down 2.47p at 30.64p; Barclays lost 11.05p to close at 154.15p and HSBC dropped 20p to 504.5p.

Hotel and restaurant group Whitbread got things off to a start this morning with a trading update for its second quarter. Total like-for-like sales rose 4.8% over the period, with total sales up 12.9%. That took total like-for-like sales for the half year up 3.2% and total sales up 11%.

Chief executive Andy Harrison highlighted the fact that second quarter sales growth made Whitbread "one of the fastest growing consumer facing companies in the FTSE100". Stand out performer was the Costa chain of coffee shops, which saw sales grow 28.8% in the quarter.

An interim statement from Betfair reveals core revenue for the quarter fell 7% to £80.8m, although the company points out the figure for the comparative period did reach record levels. A growth in mobile trading stands out, with a 94% rise in the number of bets placed to 7.4m.

David Yu, the firm's chief executive, said: "Trading has been encouraging in the second quarter, including a good start to the football season. Core Betfair revenue in August was up 12% versus the same period last year and, whilst it is still early in the financial year and the economic environment remains uncertain, we remain comfortable with the outlook."

Final results from McBride are described as "a robust sales performance in a very challenging environment" by chief executive Chris Bull. The company, which makes white label products for the household and personal care markets, saw revenue grow just 1% to £812.4m while operating profit fell 42% to £29m.

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