Pick of the early market news

Despite thin trading, the FTSE 100 climbed 0.37% yesterday. The biggest winners were automotive player GKN and Man Group, rising 3.26% and 3.08% respectively. Lux retailer Burberry also saw a 2.28% rise. Today, markets will be absorbing the impact of Standard & Poor stripping the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) of its AAA credit rating. Meanwhile gold is again on the rise (above $1,650 an ounce).

Let's commence with a closer look at Burberry, as just mentioned. Wealthy Asian shoppers continue to support the leather-and-raincoat retailer. Third quarter revenues jumped 22% with the retailer claiming £574m in revenues for the three month time frame up to the end of the year.

Burberry boss Angela Ahrendts said the firm's investment in flagship markets and digital technology "has enabled our global teams to continue to drive customer engagement, enhance retail disciplines and improve operational effectiveness, further strengthening brand momentum."

However underlying growth momentum has slowed from 30% in the first half of the year to 21% in the three months up to 31 December.

Next, Experian. The credit information player says revenues from continuing activities increased 12% (at constant exchange rates) in the three months up to the end of December. Latin America was the star performer by region with total growth soaring 42%.

Group organic revenue growth was 7% year-on-year. "Looking ahead," said Experian boss Don Robert, "we expect organic revenue growth for the second half to be at least as strong as the third quarter, while for the year as a whole, we reiterate our expectations of modest margin improvement and strong cash flow conversion."

Growth was rather more modest in the US and the UK. In the US, total revenue growth was 3%, with an organic revenue growth rate of just 2%. Organic revenue growth was 7% in the UK while Credit Services delivered organic revenue growth of 2%.

We finish with an interim from Greene King. Overall results remain in line with company expectations. Like-for-like sales rose 8.2% in the last seven weeks married to 4.7% growth; food like-for-like sales were up 11.1%. Average EBITDA per pub in Pub Partners climbed 5.9% in the last eight weeks while core brand own-brewed volume sales were also up sharply (7.4%).

"Although we expect another difficult environment for the UK consumer in 2012," the company stated, "we remain confident that we will continue to deliver growth and value to our shareholders, driven by the strength of business, our Retail expansion strategy and our focus on offering unrivalled value, service and quality to our customers."

Read Full Story