Pick of the early market news

Difficult market sentiment pulled commodity stocks down yesterday with the FTSE 100 losing almost 124 points. It finished Wednesday at 5,366. There may be more pessimism ahead today given new eurozone inflation data (out shortly) plus new inflation numbers from the US. Overnight, the Nikkei 225 slipped -1.66% while the Dow finished -1.10% down at the close of yesterday's business.

Let's commence with a 26-week interim (up to 23 October) for leisure retailer Sports Direct International. The company reports strong revenue growth across all divisions with online sales growth of 85% with total group revenues rising 8.4% to £888.6m. The company has also slashed net debt by 23.2% to £114.3m (at 24 April 2011 net debt was £148.9m).

"This strong performance yet again demonstrates the success of our unique and resilient business model, and was delivered against both a tough FIFA World Cup comparison last year and an especially fragile consumer environment," says chief exec Dave Forsey.

"The Board remains very confident of reaching our full year EBITDA target of £215m and we believe our Employee Bonus Share Schemes continues to underpin our performance."

Next, energy services operator Wood Group has issued a pre-close trading update. The company claims conditions in oil & gas markets remain strong - no material change in customer behaviour as a consequence of financial market volatility. There is good growth in their engineering side and the order book remains strong.

"Our full year results will include a significant net exceptional gain of over $2bn," says the company. "This reflects the gain on sale of the Well Support division, net of certain charges including those related to acquisitions, disposals, integration, restructuring and political disruption.

"Performance for 2011 is anticipated to be in line with expectations, with Engineering and GTS ahead of expectations."

Lastly, electrical component maker HiWave Technologies have issued final results for the 15 months up to 30 September. Sales for the 15 months to 30 September 2011 were £2m (12 months ended 30 June 2010: £1.9m). However like-for-like sales comparisons would be inappropriate says the company, as the business model has changed completely.

The group operates from two sites - Cambourne for exec operations, research, product development, marketing and worldwide sales, "and Hong Kong for supply chain operations, logistics and technical support to our suppliers and customers in the Far East. The cost of running our Hong Kong operation was reduced significantly as a result of re-negotiating our tenancy of an unnecessarily large facility."

As a result of the changes that have taken place during 2011, annualised operating costs have been considerably reduced, claims HiWave.

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