Updates from Hargreaves Lansdown, Atkins and Homeserve

The FTSE 100 climbed 36 points to 6,282 yesterday. Hargreaves Lansdown saw the biggest leap, up +5.76% while Smith & Nephew saw the biggest dip, down -1.94%.

Overnight, Japanese stocks have climbed sharply as the yen continued to tumble. At one point the Nikkei was up almost +4% in trading; currently it is +3.77% up at 11,463 with the Hang Seng up +0.63% at 23,285.
We commence with financial services player Hargreaves Lansdown. There's continued growth with revenues up 24% to £140.3m and record profit before tax, up 30% to £93.7m. Total net business inflows for the 6 months of £1.65 billion, up 42% (H1 2012: £1.16bn), says the company.

There's a sharp climb in total assets under administration of £30.4 billion (up 30% on 31 December 2011 and 16% on 30 June 2012) plus continued growth in active Vantage client numbers, now 446,000 - an increase of 21,000 since 30 June 2012. The total interim dividend is up 24% to 6.3 pence per share (H1 2012: 5.1 pence).

"The economic environment remains challenging, but we are pleased that Hargreaves Lansdown continues from strength to strength," said boss Ian Gorham. Assets Under Administration now stand at over £30bn, up £7bn from just one year ago it's claimed.

Next, Atkins. The design, engineering and project management consultancy operator says trading is in line with expectations and, despite challenging conditions in a number of markets, the outlook for the full year remains unchanged. The UK business has performed well it says.

"Our water and environment business is busy with High Speed 2 work and AMP5 framework activity and our defence and aerospace businesses continue to grow. Elsewhere, in our highways and transportation business, we have secured further design work in the period on the later upgraded sections of the M25 motorway as part of our joint venture."

UK headcount has continued to increase, maintaining momentum experienced in the first half of the year. In the US, despite "difficult trading conditions" for its North American consultancy business, the outlook for the full year remains in line with expectations.

Lastly, Homeserve expects adjusted profit before tax for the year ending 31 March 2013 to be in line with expectations. In the UK it expects customer numbers in FY13 to be around 2.25m, "which compares to our target range of 2.2 to 2.4m." Retention rates have increased slightly from the 78% reported for the first half of the year.

Though direct mail continues to be a key sales channel, take up rates from current campaigns are lower than historic levels admits the company "and we are currently focusing outbound telephony channel on sales to existing customers only." Customer complaints, which reduced by 42% in the first half of the year, have reduced compared to the same period last year claims Homeserve.

The FSA investigation into the company remains "ongoing and is expected to continue for a number of months. We have over the past few weeks commenced the roll out of the process for re-contacting customers who may have suffered detriment as a result of the way in which they were sold their policy."

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