Updates from Smiths Group, Unite and Domino Printing

Another modest shift north for the FTSE 100 on Tuesday. The Big Board saw a near 37-point lift to 6,605.2, or a climb of +0.56%. BAE Systems and ITV Systems saw the biggest encouragement, up 2.85% and 2.63% respectively. But big falls for Resolution, down 5.92% and Fresnillo, slipping -4.76%.

The Dow Jones also lifted, up almost 88 points or 0.55%, to 16,336.1. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Let's start with Smiths Group. Interim numbers for the six months to 31 January sees revenues slip 2% on a reported basis to £1,442m while headline operating profit is down 3% to £245m. The operating margin slips from 14.3% to 11.8%.

The dividend is up 2% though, reflecting continued strong cash generation Smiths says; strength in commercial markets is offset by "challenging" healthcare and defence markets.

"We anticipate improved underlying trading in the second half driven by a strong John Crane order book, some recovery in Smiths Interconnect and further growth in Flex-Tek," says the company. "Smiths Detection will continue to be affected by government budget pressures."

Next, Domino Printing says sales in the four months to end of February 2014 were five per cent ahead of the same period last year. Underlying growth in its core business was eight per cent, before a three per cent adverse impact from foreign exchange squalls says Domino.

The Group has generated cash of £4.9m in the first four months of the year and remains net cash positive, it claims. Net cash at the end of February 2014 is £30.0 million.

An improvement in market conditions has helped "although customer confidence remains fragile in some geographic areas". The recent rise in sterling may "impact reported results at the half and full year".

We end with news from student accommodation player Unite, which says it has received planning approval for the development of a new 900-bed student property project in Islington, north London.

The 260,000 square foot scheme has a forecast total development cost of £93 million and yield on cost of 8.8%. The project will be developed by The London Student Accommodation Vehicle (LSAV).

"There is a significant shortfall of student accommodation in London which puts pressure on the residential housing market," says Richard Simpson, MD of Property for Unite. "This new development will not only help alleviate that, but also contribute to the regeneration of one of London's oldest boroughs."

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