Updates from Rolls-Royce, Severn Trent and Anglo American

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100 Anglo American, Rolls-Royce, Virgin, Severn Trent
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100 Anglo American, Rolls-Royce, Virgin, Severn Trent

The FTSE 100 stasis continues: just a 9.9 point climb on Thursday, to 6,828.1. Coca-Cola HBC and Intertek Group saw the most forward movement, up 6.2% and 4.9% (to 1159p and 2568p). Shire was another big gainer, up 4.9% to 4997p. However some of the recent enthusiasm for BT Group hit problems, down 2.1% to 450p. GSK was also unpopular, falling 1.8% to 1485p.

On the other hand the Dow Jones put on a 110.2 point gain, nearing the 18,000 barrier again at 17,972.3, helped by a lift in oil prices and tech stocks, including Intel. Today, German GDP is up 0.7% for the last quarter.

We commence with 2014 full numbers from Rolls-Royce. While its order book is at record levels at £73.7bn Rolls-Royce underlying pre-tax profit slumps 8% to £1,617m; underlying revenues are also down, 6%, to £14,588m.

2014 saw underlying revenue tumbling for the first time in a decade, the company acknowledges, reflecting reduced spending by defence customers, macroeconomic uncertainty, plus falling commodity prices.

"The fundamentals of our business remain solid," says chief exec John Rishton, "with long-term growth in demand for the complex power systems we deliver across our Aerospace and Land & Sea Divisions."

Next, Severn Trent. The utility player says the group is on track to deliver expectations for the full year. Consumption across its income base is expected to be slightly higher year-on-year as a result of warmer weather.

Bad debt levels will remain at 2.2% of turnover, it predicts. As far as the dividend goes, the total for 2014/15 is expected to be 84.90 pence, representing growth of 5.6%. Severn has already said it will snip its dividend for the next financial year by 5%.

Operating costs are expected to rise year-on-year, Severn admits, "due to the impact of inflation and quasi taxes, partially offset by efficiency improvements".

We end with full year numbers fromAnglo American. Group underlying earnings arrive at $4.9 billion, a 25% cut due to sharply weaker commodity prices, offset by weaker producer country currencies and upped production and sales volumes.

"Our diversified product portfolio provided us with a degree of insulation from the particularly sharp price falls for the bulk commodities of iron ore and coal," claims boss Mark Cutifani.

"Despite the positive progress," Cutifani adds, "I am saddened to report that we still lost six colleagues during the year, so we have a lot more work to do and our focus is unrelenting to achieve zero harm."

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