Updates from BP, Imperial Tobacco and Standard Chartered
In the Far East the Nikkei ended almost 90 points down at 8,841 while in the US - most stock exchanges closed - trading volumes were kept low as weather conditions deteriorated.
First off this morning, BP. The oil giant BP has seen a dip in profits for the last quarter: replacement cost profit - ignoring oil price movements - was $4.69bn, a slip from $5.27bn for the same quarter in 2011.
Chief executive Bob Dudley has hiked the quarterly dividend 12.5% to nine cents a share. "BP's performance and the strong progress we are making in transforming the company give us the confidence to increase distributions to our shareholders," said Dudley.
Earlier this month BP announced its was quitting its existing TNK Rosneft relationship for a mixture of shares and cash. The proposed sale would result in BP holding a 19.75% interest in Rosneft plus $12.3 billion in cash.
Next, we waft over to Imperial Tobacco. Tobacco net revenue climbed 4% in the last 12 months though stick equivalent volumes declined 2.7% says Imperial. However there is "excellent" tobacco net revenue growth across the portfolio and the adjusted operating margin is maintained at 42%.
Full year dividend is up 11%. "I'm particularly pleased," says chief exec Alison Cooper, "with the excellent performances from our key strategic brands Davidoff, Gauloises Blondes, West and JPS, with volumes up 7 per cent and revenues growing 13 per cent."
Recently there has been takeover talk on the stock with both Japan Tobacco and British American Tobacco said to be in the running, though the regulatory climate on a range of fronts is uncertain.
Finally,an interi m from Standard Chartered. Year to date, income has grown at a high single digit rate, maintaining the trajectory in the first half of 2012. But income continues to be impacted by the strength of the US dollar against Asian currencies, Standard Chartered warns.
Wholesale Banking continues to deliver strongly with double digit income growth and high single digit growth in operating profit year to date. Client income remains strong and contributed over 80% of total income.
"Although the environment remains turbulent, we are in the right markets," says chief exec Peter Sands, "and continue to see good momentum across our businesses and geographies. Lending and deposits have both increased over the last three months."