Pick of the early market news

Updated: 
Big hits were taken by most stock markets - the Dow Jones excepted - yesterday. The FTSE 100 sank 1.15% lower to 5,742 points with Barclays (down -4.66%) and Aviva (down -3.42%) the biggest fallers.

The German Dax fell further to -1.77% while the French Cac 40 fell -1.43%. Overnight, Asia had a mixed Friday with the Nikkei Stock Average losing 0.5%.

Let's commence with a trading update from Tate & Lyle. Unfortunately the news isn't so sweet as net debt of 31 March 2012 "will be somewhat higher than that reported at the end of last year." The company blames working capital demands have increased by keeping US corn silos full "in response to the anticipated tight supply situation running up to the next harvest."

However the Group has delivered a solid performance during the final quarter, the company claims, "in line with our expectations, which consolidates a good performance for the full financial year."

Next, food supplier Cranswick. The banger maker, whose brands include Jamie Oliver and Weight Watchers, says sales performance in the final quarter saw a 10% rise in underlying like-for-like sales for the year to 31 March 2012.

Strong cash generation from operating activities in the final quarter is likely to result in year-end net debt being lower than that of a year ago. This net debt position, Cranswick claims, will be reduced further by proceeds from the 49% sale of Farmers Boy (Deeside) Limited to Morrisons.

"The business has a well invested asset base, loyal and skilled teams, a great range of products and a strong financial position. Good progress has been made following the challenges of the first half and the Board looks forward positively to the long term development of Cranswick."

Finally, struggling Research in Motion (RIM) has announced it is quitting the retail smartphone market and will re-focus its efforts on the corporate market. RIM''s chief problem is Apple, which shipped 37m iPhones in the last quarter of 2011. That's more than what RIM sold in the past three quarters in total.

Its latest quarterly results saw the Canadian company make a $125m (or £78m) net loss, worse than expected. Compare that with a profit of $934m a year ago. Chief tech officer David Yacht is standing down; Blackberry shares have tumbled 80% in the last 12 months.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT