Updates from RBS, Inchcape and Rexam

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Most markets climbed yesterday with the FTSE 100 up +0.92% to 6,681 points, a 61-point uplift. The break into profits for Lloyds saw shares surge +8.08% to 74p. Sliding sharply in the other direction though was Aggreko, slumping -7.70% to 1643p.

Overnight in Asia the Nikkei is up smartly, climbing +2.90% to 14,411 while the Hang Seng climbs +0.58% to 22,217.
The major news this morning is a new CEO for Royal Bank of Scotland, replacing out-going Stephen Hester. RBS confirms New Zealander Ross McEwan will lead the head of its retail operations, commencing 1 October.

McEwan, in fact, joined RBS last year. Meanwhile RBS announces first half 2013 pre-tax profits of £1,374m, with group operating profits of £1,678m, up 5% from H1 2012. There's also H1 2013 net attributable profit of £535m, after a loss of £2,032 million in H1 2012.

"The Bank," said RBS in a statement, "is strongly positioned with capital and funding capacity in place to support lending growth as customer demand increases; there are good early indicators of increasing customer confidence in both our retail and corporate franchises."

Next, half-yearly numbers from beverage canmaker Rexam. Sales climb +1% to £1,971m, however underlying operating profit is -2% down to £217m. Underlying earnings per share climb +7% to 15.6p from 14.6p.

Rexam says that while the North American market experienced strong growth, a combination of subdued macroeconomic conditions and adverse weather in much of Europe depressed demand for beverage cans. Performance in South America was also softer than expected.

"It has been a challenging first half against a difficult macroeconomic backdrop," says boss Graham Chipchase. "However, we have responded swiftly by accelerating our cost mitigation measures and maintaining our capital discipline. We continue to expect our full year performance to show improvement over 2012."

Finally, automotive player Inchcape says the first half of 2013 saw record profits before tax plus double digit earnings. Reported sales climb to £3.3bn, up 6.6% in actual currency. Pre-exceptional profits before tax are £147.0m (2012 H1: £132.8m), up +10.7%.

The Group bought Trivett, Australia's leading luxury and premium automotive group, on 1 March and the integration is claimed to be on track. The company predicts global car sales are forecast to grow +24% during the next five years.

"Confidence in the Group's earnings potential," says boss Andre Lacroix, "and our highly cash-generative business model is reflected in our progressive dividend policy with an interim dividend increase of 43% and in today's announcement of a £100m share buyback programme over the next 12 months."