Pick of the early market news

London Stock Exchange signAFP/Getty

With the markets down again yesterday, investors could be forgiven for simply wanting to get away from it all, and the desire to get away has contributed to a couple of positive updates from airline Easyjet and travel firm TUI. There's an update too from Canary Wharf owner Songbird Estates, plus results from Sinclair Pharma.
Easyjet's pre-close statement says the board is expecting pre-tax profit for the year to be between £240-250m, up on previous expectations of £200-230m. The board is expecting to pay an ordinary dividend of 9p per share, plus a one-off special dividend totalling £150m, taking the total annual return for shareholders to 44p per share.

A trading statement from TUI Travel says bookings are up in most markets, with 10% of holidays for next summer sold so far. Chief executive Peter Long says: "Most of our programmes are now almost fully sold. We remain confident that the full year results will be in line with our expectations."

Songbird Estates, which owns and leases most of London's Canary Wharf development, has posted profits after tax of £135.3m for the six months to 30 June. That has enabled the board to declare a dividend of just over 7p per share. Songbird's net assets are valued at £1,895.6m.

Speciality pharma giant Sinclair Pharma has published its preliminary results, and they show total revenue increased 19% – 10% on a like-for-like basis – to £32.9m in the year to 30 June. That didn't prevent a pre-tax loss of £11.7m and a loss per share of 5.1p.

CEO Chris Spooner said: "Crucially we believe the Company is now able to deliver sustainable organic growth without the need for further financing." He's particularly optimistic about UK operations now that the merger with IS Pharma has been fully completed.

The FTSE 100 closed down 75 at 5,288 yesterday against a backdrop of continuing worries over Greek debt and concern about lack of liquidity in the system. Ocado shares took a beating as rumours of a new Tesco price offensive circulated, but ITV benefitted from healthy advertising figures.

In the US, the Dow closed down 283 at 11,124 after a gloomy assessment of economic prospects by the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee. It said "Recent indicators point to continuing weakness in overall labor market conditions, and the unemployment rate remains elevated."

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