Updates from BP and Homeserve
The Dow Jones slipped -0.62% to 14,421. Overnight, some Asian stocks saw pressure following a stronger yen.
First off today, BP. The oil giant says it will carry out a share buy-back programme worth up to $8bn. The moves come hard behind the completion of the sale of BP's 50% interest in TNK-BP to Rosneft yesterday.
"The programme is expected to return to BP shareholders an amount equivalent to the value of the company's original investment in TNK-BP," BP claims. As far as Rosneft goes, the new TNK-BP £36bn deal means the Russian state-owned oil company is now the world's biggest listed oil producer.
Bob Dudley, BP's chief exec, hailed the day as "historic". However the relationship saw Dudley quit as head of the venture. Rosneft and BP look likely to co-operate in new Arctic projects. BP remains still exposed to considerable US liabilities following the Gulf of Mexico calamity.
Next, a trading update - and an announcement of major job losses - from boiler repair operator Homeserve. Chief exec Richard Harpin claims Homeserve is on track to achieve FY13 expectations with UK customer numbers of around 2.25m and "strong growth" in its International businesses
Homeserve expects UK customer base to "stabilise" at around 1.9m customers by March 2014, cutting its UK financial performance in FY14 and FY15. "As a result we are announcing the loss of 300 roles in the UK business," it says.
Recently the company - still under investigation by the FSA for mis-selling allegations, though a conclusion (and a possible hefty fine) is surely close - saw itself downgraded by Espirito Santo who criticised the company for poor marketing. It switched its former recommendation of Buy to Sell.
Lastly, a trading update from Euromoney. Total revenues for the six months to March 31, 2013 are expected to show a headline decrease of approximately 1% on 2012, the company says, due to continuing stress from financial markets.
"Despite the challenging market conditions, the group expects to announce an adjusted profit before tax of not less than £51 million for the six months to March 31, 2013", it says (2012: £48.6 million).
At current exchange rates, group net debt at March 31, 2013 is expected to be no more than £45 million, against £30.8 million at September 30, 2012. The increase in debt since the year end reflects the acquisitions of TTI/Vanguard, claims the company.