Updates from QinetiQ, Dixons and RPC

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The FTSE 100 climbed 14 points on Thursday, ending the day at 6,565.5. The biggest riser was TUI Travel, up +3.93% to 370.4p on the back of strong seasonal selling, with Whitbread behind, rising +3.34% to 3035p.

Energy companies, for the second day, took the biggest hits, with Centrica falling -2.32% to 366.90p and SSE down -1.95% to 1460p.

We end the week with a pre-close trading update from defence and aerospace player, QinetiQ. Its outlook for the full year to 31 March 2014 is unchanged but the full impact of sequestration - automatic US spending cuts - remains unclear.

Earlier in the year Qinetiq took a £256m hit following the tough US defence cuts; the company was also struggling to benefit from larger economies of scale. The company says it continues to conduct a review to maximise the value of its US Services division.

"The performance of Global Products," adds the company, "which has shorter order cycles and a more lumpy revenue profile than the services divisions, continues to be impacted by US budgetary pressures."

Next, a trading update from plastic packing player RPC Group for the period 1 April to 30 September. Activity levels are expected to be slightly ahead with good growth in higher added value products like coffee capsules and personal care, it claims.

With better sterling to euro exchange rates, this should push revenues higher RPC predicts. Operating profit (before exceptional items) in the first half year is anticipated to be in line with management expectations.

"The Group," says chief exec Pim Vervaat, "is well placed to benefit from an economic recovery in Europe based on our good market positions, leading technological capabilities and continued investment in growth."

Finally, Dixons says it has signed the agreement to sell PIXmania S.A.S to Mutares A.G, a German listed industrial holding company. To provide ongoing funding for PIXmania, Dixons Retail will provide approximately £59million (€69million) of ring-fenced capital. Completion should take place by end of December.

For the year to April 2013, Dixons says the assets disposed of generated retail operating losses of £31.3 million and losses before tax of £114.3 million on turnover of £397.7 million and gross assets of £48.0 million.

The transaction "is testament to the strength of the plans," says Sebastian James, group chief exec, "that Mutares has for the business, and to the vision that they were able to share with our colleagues at PIXmania. I believe that the company has an exciting future, and I look forward to watching it flourish under new ownership."