Updates from PZ Cussons and Balfour Beatty

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The FTSE 100 climbed 14 points higher to 6,571 yesterday. Sports Direct International was the biggest climber, up +2.16% to 709p. But Carnival sank -5.6% to 2258p with Fresnillo down -4.15% to 971p.

The Dow Jones also lost ground, down 66 points to 15,334, not helped by new consumer confidence worries.

We commence with a trading update from Imperial Leather maker PZ Cussons for the three months up to 24 September. Trading in the washing and bathing division has been "robust" with new product launches proving successful, so PZ Cussons claims.

Margin improvement projects continues in all markets though raw material costs remain flat. In its beauty division, all four main brands performed "well" with St Tropez boosted by Kate Moss as brand ambassador at the start of the summer, says the company.

As to PZ Cussons' important Nigerian operations, there's progress. "Despite unrest continuing in the north, the positive growth momentum seen in the second half of last year has continued into the first quarter."

Next, Balfour Beatty says there's a new Dallas-based contract worth around £125m in the offing. Balfour will develop its second student accommodation project for The Texas A&M University System.

Student accommodation, it says, is a growing sector with around US$1 billion of new projects coming to market in the US and a pipeline of around £1 billion of new projects anticipated in the UK.

"This project," says the company, "will be Balfour Beatty's sixth student accommodation project in the USA, following the recently announced University of West Florida contract which has an estimated completion value of US$500 million."

We finish with a pre-close trading update from Entertainment One. Trading and full year earnings in the first six months of the financial year has been in line with management expectations.

Investment in content and programmes is expected to increase to more than £250 million in the current financial year, the company says. The Group expects to release over 250 films during the current financial year.

The Group recently finalised, it claims, its independent library valuation, valuing its Film, Television and Music library in excess of US$650 million, up from US$385 million at 31 March 2012."