Updates from Pearson, Spectris and Hikma Pharma
The FTSE 100 saw a 19.4-point bump to 6,419.1 on Thursday. BA owner IAG again saw shares surge, this time by 3.45% to 384p. Intertek Group was the Board's second biggest climber, up 2.89% to 2595p. Meanwhile, more misery for Tesco with its shares collapsing more than 6.5% to 171p following the announcement of a 90% profits plunge early morning. TullowOil took yet more downwards pressure, slipping 4.17% to 505p.
Rather more positivity for the US Dow Jones though, climbing 216 points, or 1.32%, to 16,677.9 thanks to better economic numbers and strong gains from Caterpillar and 3M.
We start with a nine-month update from publisher Pearson. Full year guidance is reiterated: that means adjusted earnings per share are expected to come in at between 62p and 67p in 2014. However US revenues dipped 6% because of the strong pound.
For the last nine months, sales climb 1% at constant exchange rates and level in underlying terms. It claims its restructuring programme is on track with full year net restructuring costs of around £50m in 2014.
"Overall," says boss John Fallon, "we are performing well competitively through a period of change and in difficult markets. We still expect those markets to start to stabilise next year and then return to growth in future years."
Next, a quarterly update from instrumentation player Spectris from 1 July to 23 October 2014. Sales for the third quarter were flat on a like-for-like basis but foreign currency gusts movements saw a 7% hit overall.
On a reported basis sales are 5% lower compared with the same period last year. Regionally, like-for-like sales to North America grew by 7% but Asia Pacific is down 3% and 6% in Europe (not helped by a dismal German economic environment).
Despite contributions from acquisitions and new products, Spectris expects performance for the full year will be "modestly below" the year EBITA £200m consensus.
We finish with a US FDA warning for Hikma Pharmaceuticals following an inspection of its manufacturing facility in Portugal back in March. At this point, Hikma says it doesn't anticipate a warning letter will impact its guidance for 2014.
"Hikma," says the company, "takes this matter very seriously and will work with the FDA to fully resolve all outstanding issues."
It's thought Hikma was recently considering buying US rival CorePharma, for up to £615m. The company recently received a Reduce rating from AlphaValue while Barclays have an Overweight rating on the stock.
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