Updates from Rio Tinto and Michael Page

A +0.63% hike for the FTSE 100 yesterday, up 41 points to 6,586. RBS climbed +5.12% to 320p while Aggreko took the biggest hit, down -2.98% to 1758p. In the background, though, eurozone debt fears are beginning to seep out into the open again.

Overnight, the Nikkei 225 climbed +0.43% to 14,568. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
First, an update from Rio Tinto - and a milestone claimed in Mongolia, with the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine making its first shipment of copper concentrate to China. There's record first half iron ore production, shipments and rail volumes, despite a conveyor belt breakage resulting in one of five ship loaders being side-lined.

"Our iron ore operations continue...with period on period productivity improvements. One of our key priorities this year is to deliver our growth projects. Despite some challenging weather conditions, our Pilbara 290 iron ore expansion [Western Australia] remains on track."

However there are concerns the massive investment in the iron ore Western Australian business may affect the price of the commodity - supply and demand issues, not to mention profitability issues.

Next, an interim from healthcare player BTG. Trading overall has been in line with Board expectations. Full year revenue, excluding any impact from the recent acquisitions, is anticipated to be in the range of £235m to £245m.

The company says it has completed the strategic acquisitions of the Targeted Therapies division of Nordion, Inc. and EKOS Corporation which should provide BTG with a platform in the interventional medicine sector - with the potential to generate over $1bn in annual revenues by 2021, it claims.

"The business," says chief exec Louise Makin, "is at an exciting stage in its development, and we are focused on executing the significant growth opportunities we now have. We are also delighted that our shareholders supported our recent capital raise to enable us to make both strategic acquisitions."

Finally, a Q2 and first half trading update from international recruiter Michael Page. A robust performance is claimed for the second quarter against "challenging market conditions" with gross profit of £135.2m, up 6.6% on the first quarter, down 2.0% year-on-year.

Good performances were pulled in from North America. Its offices in Japan, Mexico, Spain and the Middle East also performed well, as did some smaller and newer businesses in Europe, Latin America and Asia. But in Australia, the business experienced rougher conditions.

Page expects Q3 will be another challenging quarter. "As a result, headcount has reduced by 144 since the start of the year, primarily in operational support staff."

Read Full Story