Updates from WH Smith, IMI and Premier Oil

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Fresh worries that the US Fed may wind back its bond buying saw most stock markets take hits yesterday, with the FTSE 100 falling -0.97% to 6,390, down almost 63 points. InterContinental Hotels Group took the biggest punch, slipping -6.72% to 1845p.

Overnight, the Nikkei 225 falls -0.74% to 13,325.6 while the Hang Seng slips -0.69% to 21,667.
We commence with an interim from engineering group IMI for the six months up to 30 June. Operating profits climb +5% to £162.2m through organic revenue growth is down -3%. Adjusted profit before tax climbs +1% to £170.1m.

Reported earnings per share climbs +8% to 34.9p from 32.3p. IMI has confirmed the acquisition of Canadian company Analytical Flow Products (AFP) for an initial £5m but could pay up to £36m based on performance during the next five years.

"We continue," says chairman Roberto Quarta, "to anticipate better trading conditions in the remainder of the year. In addition we expect the Group to benefit from an improving sales mix and an increasing contribution from the recently launched new products."

Next, half year numbers from Premier Oil. Profit before tax climbs to $214.6m (2012: $194.6m); there's profit after tax of $161.1m (2012: $145.8m). Operating cash flow is up 18% at $384.9m (2012: $325.5m).

Production averaged 58,600 boepd (2012: 58,400 boepd) with its initial Huntington production issues addressed. Six out of seven exploration wells are successful, including a significant oil discovery at Luno II in Norway, claims Premier.

"Despite rising costs and challenging execution timetables across the industry," says chief exec Simon Lockett, "we see high returns on capital and strong cash flow growth as we deliver on these valuable projects."

Finally, an update from WH Smith. There's "good performance" from its travel business arm and is making further progress in winning new business in both UK and international travel markets, claims the company.

"In the High Street business our focus," says the company, "on gross margin gains and tight cost control continues to deliver a solid performance, despite the relatively strong publishing schedule in the second half of the prior year."

Both businesses claim they remain highly cash generative. WH Smith expects the year to 31 August 2013 to be in line with market expectations. It recently had its Buy rating restated by Cantor Fitzgerald in a research report.