Updates from Ashmore Group, ABF and Premier Oil

The FTSE 100 nudged up 0.41 points yesterday to 5,664. Glencore Int was the biggest riser, up +1.85% while Burberry Group sank -7.40% on China growth concerns.

Overnight, Asian stocks have taken a fright on the same issue - potential Sino weakness - with the Hang Seng plunging -1.6% and the Nikkei down -1.3%.
We start with a Q4 update from emerging markets fund manager Ashmore Group. The quarter saw assets under management slip -3.3% to US$63.7 billion following adverse investment performance - spurred by flagging global confidence and eurozone stress - of US$1.6 billion and net outflows of US$0.6 billion, the company says.

Performance fees for the year overall are estimated to be £25 million, almost entirely earned in the first half (H1 2011/12 £23.0 million: FY2010/11 £85.4 million), and principally from investment performance for funds with an August 2011 year end.

"Investment performance," said the fund manager, "was positive within the external debt theme, with adverse performance in the equities, multi-strategy and alternatives themes whilst the corporate and blended debt themes remained flat in the quarter."

Next, an interim from Associated British Foods (ABF). It says Group revenue for the 40 weeks to 23 June 2012 was 11% ahead of the same period last year, in line with growth reported at the half year.

As a result of some strengthening of sterling, year-to-date revenue was 12% ahead of last year on a constant currency basis, says ABF. The group says it remains on track to deliver "substantial" growth in both adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share for the full year.

Finally, Premier Oil claims it's pleased with recent performance from producing fields. It claims it also has made valuable discoveries in the North Sea and Indonesia during the first half of 2012.

Its New Ventures team has "delivered a number of potentially high impact opportunities to our exploration portfolio. We look forward to an increasingly material exploration programme over the next 12 months."

Premier has also reached an agreement with Rockhopper for a 60% equity stake in their licence interests in the Falkland Islands. "This material opportunity will leverage our core development and operating capabilities in a new proven oil basin offering us the potential to create substantial value for shareholders."

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