Updates from Asda, nPower and IP Group

Greek parliament votes on a new bailout deal meanwhile Asda follows rival Morrisons with a new milk deal for farmers

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The FTSE 100 rout came to a near halt on Thursday with the index losing just three points, ending at 6,568.3. Miners continued to slump though with Rio Tinto and Randgold Resources down 3.7% and 3.1% respectively, to 2459p and 4034p. Overall the biggest loser though was G4S, diving almost 5.4% to 255.40p after a new broker report signalled emerging markets worry plus more competition. Rather better numbers though for Coca-Cola AG and TUI AG, up 7.3% and 6.6%.

Across the water the Dow Jones was up just 5.7 points to 17,408.2. Little change overall though trading swung through a 140-point range during the day.

We commerce with news that supermarket Asda has confirmed it's hiking the amount it pays farmers for milk, paying 28p per litre for 100 per cent of its liquid milk volume throughout its entire range.

"This decision," says Wal-Mart owned Asda, "recognises that our dairy farmers need a fair price so consumers can ensure they have access to British dairy products now and in the future."

Asda customers claims the supermarket will not pay any price rise. Near rival Morrisons has said it will introduce a new brand of 'farmer's milk' that will see an extra 10p per litre going direct to the producers.

Next, nPower and a 60% dive in profits following the desertion of 300,000 customers in the last year. Profits come in at £38m. nPower have also had profound problems with its billing infrastructure.

Owner German utility player RWE says the billing problems may remain until beyond 2016; RWE has already been warned on the problem by regulator Ofgem, which could result in future fines.

"The challenges that we have faced," says nPower chief exec Paul Massara, "were tougher than we expected but we know what the problems are and are taking the right steps to fix them."

Lastly, IP Group, developer of intellectual property-based businesses, says its portfolio company, First Light Fusion Limited, has completed a fundraising of up to £22.7 million. This fundraising will allow First Light to further develop its modelling tools.

IP Group claims First Light, a spin-out from the University of Oxford, has discovered new implosion processes - with the potential to shorten the timescale and cost of achieving practical and affordable fusion energy.

"We are already working," says Nick Hawker, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of First Light, "with a number of leading university research groups, and we will use the new capital to expand this programme."

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