Updates from CRH, Persimmon and Menzies

The FTSE 100 slipped almost 35 points yesterday to 6,465. Anglo American saw the steepest share hit, down -3.55% to 1492.50p while Vedanta Resources saw its stock dip -2.83% hit to 1200p. John Wood Group was the Board's biggest riser, up +2.27% to 903.00p.

Overnight, the Nikkei 225 drops a sharp -2.43% to 13,423.

We commence with an interim from Irish building materials player CRH and a half-year pretax loss. Sales revenue slithers -3% with a pre-tax loss of €71m in total compared with €102m in profits the previous half year up to 30 June.

In total, EBITDA was 18% below first half 2012. The dividend per share is maintained at 18.5c; CRH claims incremental cost savings of €111 million in 2013 and is accelerating initiatives in Europe due to weak markets.

"'We expect EBITDA for the second half of the year," says chief exec Myles Lee, "to be in line with last year (restated 2012: €1.04 billion). The Group continues to focus on cost management, operational excellence, value-adding acquisitions and strong cash generation."

Next, a half-year report from house builder Persimmon. Underlying pre-tax profits see a +40% hike to £135.3m (2012: £96.9m) while revenue is +12% ahead at £899.9m (2012: £806.7m). There's also a decent improvement in operating margin increasing 300bps to 15.1% (2012: 12.1%).

Forward sales are up 21% at £1,257m (2012: £1,041m). Strong investment in new land of £236 million (2012: £142 million) is claimed with 7,538 new plots acquired, bringing the total of owned and controlled plots to 70,716 (2012: 63,786) says the company.

"We have reached our target margin range of 15-17% eighteen months ahead of plan," says chairman Nicholas Wrigley. "Our focus remains on the delivery of our long term strategy and we are well placed to continue to make good progress."

Lastly, an interim from John Menzies up to 30 June. Turnover rises from £988m to £997m though underlying operating profit slips to £26.1m from £27.0m. Pre-tax profits climb slightly, from £16.4m to £18.4m.

There's also a small rise in the dividend, from 7.35p to 7.7p. Despite challenging markets, the Group remains on track, it claims, with an unchanged strategy delivering further growth at Menzies Aviation and cost mitigations at Menzies Distribution.

"Menzies Aviation continues progress with a solid trading performance in the period and today's acquisitions continue to grow our market share in attractive existing and key new target markets. At Menzies Distribution whilst core markets remain challenging, the integration of Orbital Marketing Services is delivering to plan."