Pick of the early market news

Updated: 

Stock exchange snapGetty

Another unsettled week for the markets look likely as Sarkozy and Merkel continue to talk euro survival plans, though there's little detail coming out currently. It's a tad quiet for company results today. We hit the road with Avon Rubber.


Avon's full year trading update reveals strong performance from both Protection and Defence, plus their Dairy division. Net debt at year end was £11.9m - lower than current market expectations due to debt repayments being met promptly.

In Protection & Defence, an initial delivery order against a 3 year US Department of Defense IDIQ contract for filters was completed on schedule while in Dairy, the progress seen earlier in the year "continued into the final quarter, with the new Impulse Mouthpiece Vented Liner making further market share gains."

Chief Executive Peter Slabbert said their technologies was "delivering higher margin returns as we strengthen our position in global markets. The uncertain economic climate will present challenges in the coming year but I am confident that both sides of Avon's business are well positioned to make further progress in 2012."

Positive news for recruiter Michael Page International. Third quarter gross profits leapt almost 27% to £112.8m compared to the same time frame last year. Don't look to the UK for much of this uptick; much of it down from Asia and the EMEA region.

Asia delivered £29.2m - a massive 44% leap - for Page, while the Americas contributed £22.1m - again delivering a huge 48% leap. The EMEA region saw a 30% rise, delivering £58.3m. Chief exec Steve Ingham warns weakening markets meant continued volatility.

"The Group is in a strong position, both financially and as a result of our successful strategy of diversification, both by geography and business discipline. Markets have weakened and become more uncertain reducing our short term visibility. However, while mindful of the uncertainty in so many of the world's economies, we continue to invest where there are opportunities for longer term growth."

Lastly, YouGov plc has revealed prelims for the year ending 31 July. Decent performance from US acquisitions and growth has seen turnover accelerate 26% higher to £56.1m with organic growth pushing forward at 9%. Adjusted profit before tax improved 43% to £5.8m.

"We have recently strengthened our management team," says boss Stephan Shakespeare, "to support our aim of driving the company more ambitiously. We expect good revenue growth to continue this year, despite the anticipated end of the historic contract in Iraq by the end of 2011."

"YouGov remains committed to making additional investments in new products and geographical expansion which will support further growth. The current year will see further benefits from our US acquisitions and continued gains in other markets."



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