Pick of the early market news

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There was no denying it was an awful week on the markets last week, but with the FTSE 100 and the Dow both closing on the rise there was a chink of light in dark times. This morning we have results from Finsbury Food Group, Nationwide accident repair and financial advisers Lighthouse.
The FTSE 100 closed last week up 25.20 points at 5066.81, bringing some respite after a bad week. At one point the market fell to 4928, and the fall of 5.62% over the week was its second worst weekly fall of the year – the 9.93% wiped off in the first week of August still the benchmark.

It was a similar story in the US. With the Dow finishing on the rise after its worst weekly performance in three years. It closed up 48 to 10.771 as rumours of an interest rate cut in the Eurozone provided a boost. The big news over the weekend came with the shock resignation of UBS chief Oswald Grübel.

Finsbury Food Group starts the week off with a set of preliminary results showing revenue up 12.6% to £189.6m. Pre-tax profit is up 8.3% to £5.8m although gross margin was down 1% to 27%. Adjusted earnings per share were 7.1p.

Chairman Martin Lightbody said: "It is our stated intention to help consumers through the recession. Doing so demands continual focus on options and choice, whether in the form of optional treats, celebration birthday cakes or lower cost items for lunch boxes. Innovation and adaptability are paramount."

Nationwide Accident Repair Services reports a revenue rise of 6% to £92.3m for the six months to 30 June. That maintained a gross profit margin of 46% and took underlying profit before tax up 16% to £3.5m. Earnings per share were up 22% to 6.1p and the interim dividend is 1.9p.

Chairman Michael Marx said: "We are now in the second year of our three year growth plan. The results show the continuing steady progress we are making to develop our core insurance market and, while sensibly leveraging our infrastructure and systems to build sales in non-insurance funded markets."

Financial advisor LightHouse Group has posted interim results showing a doubling in earnings before deductions and an 8% rise in average annualised revenue per adviser. Like-for-like recurring revenues are up 5% to 28% and an interim dividend of 0.13p per share will be paid.

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