Updates from Lloyds and Shell

A 50-point lift from the FTSE 100 yesterday, helped by positive US economic numbers, rising to 6,621. Diageo was the Board's biggest climber, up +3.24% to 2054p while SSE saw the biggest drop, down -3.85% to 1575p.

Overnight in Asia the Nikkei 225 is up +1.78% to 13,910 while the Hang Seng climbs +0.56% to 22,005. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
The major news this morning is a return to profit for Lloyds. The 39% owned by the state bank claims a profit of £2.1bn ($3.2bn) for the six months to the end of June, contrasting with a loss of £456m for the same time frame a year ago. However Lloyds warns there is more work to be done in order to bolster its balance sheet.

Despite talk of more lending to business and consumers, lending by the bank increased just +1%, or £3bn, in the first half of the year. The bank confirms an additional £500m for Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) mis-selling scandal costs, taking the total write-down to £7.3bn.

"We are now well on track," claims chief exec António Horta-Osório, "to create a bank with a leading cost position, lower risk, a lower cost of equity, and products and services focused on our customers' needs, to deliver strong, stable and sustainable returns to our shareholders."

Next, Nigerian oil theft and other disruptions have inflicted some damage to Shell second quarter earnings, slipping to $4.6bn (£3bn) compared with $5.7bn a year ago. Shell claims it plans to hike output to 4m barrels of oil and gas a year, compared to 3.3m currently.

The value of US shale gas reserves in the US also have beeen downgraded. There's a second quarter 2013 dividend of $0.45 per ordinary share and $0.90 per American Depositary Share, an increase of 5% compared with the second quarter 2012.

"Dividends are Shell's main route," says chief exec Peter Voser, "for returning cash to shareholders and we have distributed more than $11 billion of dividends in the last 12 months. So far this year, we have repurchased more than $3 billion of shares."

Finally, medical tech player Smith & Nephew says Q2 revenues came to $1,074 million, up +3% on an underlying basis with a trading profit of $232 million and a trading profit margin of 21.6%, in-line with expectations it says.

The interim dividend of 10.4 cents per share climbs +5% (2012: 9.9cents). Advanced Surgical Devices delivered a good quarter in Sports Medicine Joint Repair and there's continued acquisition underway in Turkey to further strengthen the platform, the company claims.

"The on-going implementation of our Strategic Priorities underpinned our performance in the quarter," said chief exec Olivier Bohuon. "We generated stand-out contributions from our areas of focused investment in the Emerging and International Markets and Negative Pressure Wound Therapy."

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