Pick of the early market news

The FTSE 100 gave up 5.3 points yesterday, slipping 0.1% to 5,507. Shares across Europe were down with the German Dax giving away 2.01% of its value, down 118 points to 5,771. Trading generally was thin, with the euro hitting an 11-month low. However a new Italian bond auction saw the cost of Italian borrowing tumble sharply: the interest rate on €9bn worth of six-month bills was 3.25%.
Again, another quiet day for big names. Engineering operator 600 Group has announced interim numbers for the 26 weeks up to 1 October. The company claims revenue growth of 8% to £24.7m (2010: £22.9m) with a break-even underlying operating performance (2010: £0.15m).

Performance, it says, has been impacted by a strike in South Africa, timing issues with the integration of an acquisition in Poland and an increase in input costs in USA. However their order book is running at 35% ahead of the same comparative period in 2010.

"Given our current order book, but taking into account also the worsening economic sentiment in Europe, we remain cautiously optimistic with regard to the second half," says chief executive David Norman.

Next, Hong Kong-based UniVision has released interim results for the six months up to 30 September. Revenues increased 24% to HK$47m (H1 2010: HK$38m) with profit before interest and tax remaining constant at HK$3.3m (H1 2010: HK$3.3m).

"Our stable CCTV business," says exec chairman Stephen Koo, "provides an excellent platform from which to add shareholder value. We expect that Electrical & Maintenance will be a major driver in the growth of Univision in the future particularly following the establishment of a regional office in mainland China for this market."

We finish with news of the first retail casualty of Christmas - D2 Jeans has gone into administrations with 19 stores closed. Almost 30 other stores will be run as going concerns while administrators attempt to find a buyer for the struggling company. Hundreds of jobs are at stake with stores across the UK, from Truro to Rochdale.

High street lingerie chain La Senza said last week that it was also planning to enter into administration. It has 146 stores and 18 concessions.

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