Pick of the early morning news

Miners and resource companies helped push up the FTSE 100 yesterday to 5,795, a 1.26% lift. Vedanta Resources and Polymetal International were the biggest gainers (8.68% and 7.76% up) by some margin. European stocks also lifted sharply with the French Cac 40 rising 1.53% to 3,363 and the German Dax rising almost 2% to 6,595. However overnight, bourses in the Far East dipped though Tokyo remains almost 1% up on the week.
We commence with an interim from independent pub retailer Marston's. For managed pubs, like-for-like sales in the 16 weeks to 21 January were 5% up on last year, including like-for-like food sales growth of 5.5%.

"Like-for-like sales in the eight weeks to 21 January were up 7.0% against comparatives which were affected by exceptional wintry conditions in December 2010," said the company. "Operating margins are in line with last year and our plan to build around 25 pub-restaurants in the current financial year remains on track."

In leased, tenanted and franchised pubs, profit trends are estimated to be around 3% above last year, with 4% growth in the eight weeks to 21 January. "This improvement reflects the continuing success of Retail Agreements, our franchise model, which now operates in over 360 pubs."

Next, upbeat results from the London Stock Exchange. Total income climbed 17% on Q3 last year at £196.3 million; on a 9 months year-to-date basis income is up 19% to £582.8m. Post Trade Services total income increased 50% driven by further sequential (over Q2) growth in treasury management income from clearing operations, the LSE claims.

"Our diversification strategy," says the LSE, "continues to pay dividends and the breadth and balance of our offering gives our portfolio a good element of natural hedge, making us well-placed to drive the ongoing performance of the Group."

Lastly, engineering software group AVEVA. In an interim the company claims the Group continues to perform in line with board expectations - it remains confident of "a successful outturn for the year."

"The Group has seen continued demand for Engineering and Design Systems and good levels of interest in the new engineering tools. We have seen a number of large rental contracts renewed in the period at the same or improved terms compared to the prior year reflecting the continuing strength of our end user markets, particularly in Oil & Gas.

Geographically it says EMEA and Latin America continue to perform strongly. "Following the restructuring in China we are seeing increased momentum confirming our positive view about our prospects in this market."

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