Updates from Xstrata, Intl Personal Fin and News Corp

Most markets rose sharply on Tuesday with the FTSE 100 climbing 1.12% to 5,870 points. The biggest riser was Evraz, up +6.33% while GKN, down -3.35%, was the biggest loser.

The gains continued across the Far East today with the Nikkei pushing +1.4% higher, in part thanks to a cheaper yen and hope too that Spain is nearing a credit deal.
First off, Xstrata, and an interim management update. Key volumes of coal, zinc and lead increased in the last quarter while thermal coal production climbed 13% in the last nine months in total.

Output at Xstrata's Mount Isa operation contributed to a 4% increase in zinc in concentrate production volumes in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year. "The higher Australian volumes more than offset lower grades at our Brunswick and Perseverance mines in Canada," said Xstrata in a statement.

Xstrata Copper's $1.47 billion Antapaccay project in southern Peru has commenced on time and is, says the company, on budget. Agreement between the Glencore directors and Xstrata's independent non-executive directors on the terms of a revised recommended all-share merger of equals has been reached.

Next, Int Personal Finance. The home credit player claims strong Q3 trading performance builds on progress made in the first half of 2012 with good year-on-year growth in customer numbers (6%), credit issued (16%) and average net receivables (11%).

Profit before tax in line with Q3 2011 at £27.2m having absorbed the impact of £6.6m early settlement rebates and weaker FX rates. There is YTD profit of £58.6m (2011 YTD: £62.7m) after an additional £18.4m of ESRs and weaker FX rates is absorbed.

"We had a good third quarter and are pleased with the progress made," said CEO Gerard Ryan. "Our growth strategy is building momentum, we have a strong financial profile and we are on track to perform well in 2012."

Lastly, News Corp, and Rupert Murdoch's attempt to retain solid control of the company has been set back after a vote by a majority of independent shareholders.

They voted for the appointment of a new external News Corp chairman. Those supporting the resolution also called for Murdoch to abandon his chair title plus call for an overhaul of exec pay at the company.

The resolution failed however with the Murdoch family and other major shareholders voting against it. All existing board members were re-elected.

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