Overnight, Asian stocks came back - particularly Chinese - with the Hang Seng up 0.83% while the Toyko market is closed for a holiday.
We commence with interim numbers for the last six months from Smiths Group. Underlying headline revenue is up +6% to £1,475m with growth across all divisions; headline operating profit is +5% higher but margin affected by increased growth investment says the company.
The dividend is up +6% to 12.50p reflecting stronger cash conversion while basic earnings per share climbs just +1.0% to 40.9p. Emerging market revenues are up +9%, representing 15% of all Group revenues claims Smiths.
"Looking to the second half," says boss Philip Bowman, "we see tough trading conditions as a result of the US medical device tax, slower demand in some parts of John Crane, and the impact of further government budget cuts."
Next, annual prelim numbers from baker Greggs. Total sales says Greggs are up +4.8% to £735m with 100 net new shops opened but like-for-like sales slump -2.7% while pre-tax profit down -2.2% to £51.9m.
"At the same time," the company said in a statement this morning, "we will continue to develop sales through new shop openings, and make further progress in new markets through our wholesale and franchise agreements."
Lastly FTSE 100 heavyweight Eurasian Natural Resources has released preliminary 2012 numbers. Revenues are down -18% to US$6,320 million with underlying EBITDA slumping by 45% to US$1,887 million. The cost of sales is up +6% to US$3,723 million, a result of higher depreciation.
No final dividend is proposed. On the plus side, the company anticipates an easing of unit cost pressures and advantage from low-cost position in Kazakhstan, it claims. Yesterday Societe Generale researchers slashed their target price from 385p to 325p (currently 316p) on the stock.
"It is disappointing to have to announce write-downs and provisions across a number of the Group's assets," says chief exec Felix Vulis. "Approximately 60% of this charge relates to the Group's alumina business and our onerous contract with RUSAL, which is primarily a reflection of the current state of the aluminium market."