Pick of the early market news

Shares again came under pressure yesterday on more Eurozone stress. The FTSE 100 finished -1.24% down at 5,338 points, with similar heavy falls across Europe.

The biggest faller was ICA Group, down -6.02%. Overnight, the bad news continues: Japan's Nikkei slumped 2.9% today while the Hang Seng was down 2.3%.
We commence with three updates from the FTSE 250. First, pubs owner Mitchells & Butlers. Profits for the last six months have come under pressure - down £1m to £42m - but the all-important like-for-like sales are more positive, 0.2% up.

Basic earnings per share are down 0.3p to 8.8p. However the pubs player says exceptional operating costs of £20m include £14m of business and systems restructuring costs have been absorbed. Cost inflationary pressures are expected to ease marginally in the second half of the year, it says.

"We have," said Bob Ivell, executive chairman, in a statement, "remained firmly on the front foot with a relentless focus on actions that will drive the medium and long term success of the business. We are continuing to deliver a resilient operating performance, maintaining the roll-out of our industry-leading brands and progressing our major business change programme."

Next, final results for the LSE - and an earnings full-year revenue leap. Total income is up 21% at £814.8 million (2011: 674.9 million) with revenue up 10% at £679.8 million (2011: £615.9 million). Operating profit climbs 27% to £358.5 million (2011: £283.0 million) with adjusted operating profit1 up 30% at £441.9 million (2011: £341.1 million).

Total dividend for the year increased 6% to 28.3 pence per share. The final dividend will be paid on 20 August.

"Looking ahead," said chairman Chris Gibson-Smith, "we are excited by the opportunities for the business. In particular our full ownership of FTSE and our shareholder approved transaction with LCH.Clearnet will continue to transform our organisation. We are well placed and remain firmly focused in our pursuit of driving long-term shareholder value."

Lastly, an interim from engineering and construction group Kentz. Kentz reports "good growth" in the first four months of the year and anticipates full year performance will be marginally ahead of expectations.

"Our backlog has grown to US$2.46bn at the end of April 2012 (31 December 2011: US$2.40bn) and new awards and natural growth in 2012 will support continued revenue growth. Our current prospects comprise a significant number of projects with values up to US$100m with favourable margins and opportunities for natural growth."

Historically, Kentz claims it has been "very successful" in achieving an average of 25% natural growth on contracts "and we see this trend continuing in 2012."

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