Pick of the early market news

City of London aerial shotThe FTSE 100 ended Monday 26 points lower at 5,519. The big board will be under pressure today as consumer price inflation data is released, which could dent confidence (unemployment data will be released tomorrow) - plus we had David Cameron warning yesterday that the EU is in "peril". Falls in Asia were recorded overnight with the Hang Seng down -1.13%; the Dow Jones slipped -0.61% to 12,079 yesterday.
Let's kick off with half-year results from British Land. The company claims a resilient first half of the year with underlying pre-tax profits 3.9% up at £132m. Its portfolio valuation is valued 2.2% higher at £10.2bn and British Land claims that progress on London development programmes are now 50% pre-let. Additionally the company claims decent rental value growth and lettings.

In the current challenging economic environment, Chris Grigg, CEO said, "our results demonstrate the quality of our portfolio underlined by the actions we've taken to focus on growing both income and capital. We are well positioned for today but also have the capacity to capture upside when the economy improves."

Next, Easyjet. The budget airline has announced a pre-tax profit of £248m up to 30 September compared to profits of £154m this time last year. Full year passenger numbers are up - 11.8% - while the company claims 1m business passengers. The total cash return for shareholders has lifted to £195m - 45.4 pence per share, for the year overall, including September's special dividend.

"This strong performance," says Easyjet, "is due to firm control of costs, effective yield management, the strength of easyJet's network and focus on customers. Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) improved by 3.9 percentage points to 12.7%. Additionally the company says it will trial allocated seating from Spring 2012 on certain routes.

"Despite the headwinds of higher fuel costs and a weak and uncertain economic outlook," says boss Carolyn McCall, "our focus on customers, robust operational performance, the strength of EasyJet's network combined with cost control and capital discipline means that easyJet is well placed to succeed."

Lastly, posh raincoats and luxury goods - Burberry. First half-year pre-tax profits have climbed 26% to £162m up to 30 September. The company has also hiked its dividend by 40% to 7 pence a share.

Burberry claims it's still focused on upping retail selling space by 15% in the second half of the year, including eight to 10 mainline stores in China and Latin America, plus opening a new flagship shop in Paris, in order to help see off opposition like LVMH and PPR.

Boss Angela Ahrendts reiterated the company's focus on long-term growth: "As the team has demonstrated in the past, we remain mindful of, and prepared to react to, any local or global uncertainties as we drive for long-term sustainable growth."

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