Updates from ICAP, Barratt and Wetherspoon

After the week's earlier losses the FTSE 100 climbed 0.65% yesterday to 5,664 points. The biggest rise was from Prudential, climbing +3.29% while ARM Holdings sustained the biggest drop, down -3.11%.

More Eurozone and Chinese growth anxiety saw the Nikkei lose -0.5% overnight while the Hang Seng saw a -0.4% slip.
We commence with inter-dealer broker ICAP. First quarter profits have tumbled while revenues have dipped 9% lower compared to the same time frame a year ago. The ongoing Eurozone crisis, the Queen's Jubilee and regulatory uncertainty have all cut volumes says ICAP.

Its voice business recorded lower activity overall; commodities and the recently enlarged financial futures and options business have outperformed the rest of the voice business however, it claims. But emerging markets performance has been disappointing due to the lack of risk appetite in cross-border trading.

It anticipates subdued trading volumes for the time being but "is well positioned," it says, "for growth in the medium term, based on the strength of its diversified business model, its strong cashflow generation and the forthcoming changes in the regulatory environment."

Next, a positive trading update from house builder Barratt. Group revenues are up 14% for the full year to £2,320m with total completions of 12,637 units; group operating profit before exceptional items for the full year is expected to be up 41% at around £191m while full year profit before tax and exceptional items is expected to increase 158% to £110m, Barratt claims.

Despite continued uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook, says Barratt, the industry has enjoyed relative market stability.

"Looking ahead, we expect the Government's housing initiatives, in particular its mortgage indemnity scheme NewBuy, to continue to provide the industry with support. In the current financial year we expect to make further good progress with more than half of completions forecast to be delivered from our more recently acquired higher margin land."

Finally, pubs operator JD Wetherspoon has reported a strong sales uptick due to the Euro 2012 football tournament plus the Diamond Jubilee. Like-for-like sales climbed 6.1% in the 11 weeks to 8 July compared with a year earlier. Total sales are up 11.9%.

Since the start of the financial year, JD Wetherspoon has opened 40 new pubs and closed three. It intends to open approximately 20 to 30 pubs in the next financial year.

"As previously stated," the pub player said in a statement, "the main challenges for the Company, in this financial year of 53 trading weeks, have been the continuing cost pressures resulting from government legislation, including increases in excise duty, business rates and carbon tax. We expect to achieve a reasonable outcome for the current financial year."

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