Updates from RBS and Direct Line

A 46-point drop for the FTSE 100 yesterday, ending the day at 6,731. Croda International was the biggest contributor to pessimism with a -7.55% share hit, down to 2436p. Disappointing numbers from Shell saw it give up -5.16% to 2159.50p. BG Group, on the other hand, climbed +2.25% to 1273p.

The Dow Jones fell further, ending 73 points lower at 15,545.
We commence with RBS and a pre-tax loss for the third quarter of £634m. Much of this loss is down to payment protection insurance mis-selling liabilities. RBS also says it will not split itself into so-called 'good' and 'bad' banks.

Instead RBS' riskier assets - thought to be in the region of £38bn - will be ring-fenced. RBS, 81% owned by the taxpayer, also says it will put up a further £250m for PPI claims. The sales of its Citizens US subsidiary will also be accelerated.

These moves "will create," says RBS boss Ross McEwan, "a less complex, more effective customer business capable of delivering returns that will be attractive to prospective shareholders. They will create a bank that can reward the faith of UK taxpayers and all our investors."

Next, updated numbers from insurer Direct Line, both third quarter and the first nine months of 2013. Direct Line claims operating profit of £417.8m for the first nine months of 2013, up +20.1% (first nine months 2012: £347.9m).

There's operating profit of £131.2m for the third quarter of 2013, up +6.1% (third quarter 2012: £123.7m). However gross written premiums are 4.3% lower for the first nine months of 2013 "reflecting competitive market conditions in UK personal lines".

"These are good results," says boss Paul Geddes, "in competitive markets, with a +20% improvement in operating profit, a 95.4% combined operating ratio and a return on tangible equity of 16.8%."

Finally, a trading statement from recycling packing player DS Smith for the first half-year to 31 October. Trading is in line with expectations, with "good" performances across all businesses, the company claims, though the European market is "challenging".

Within its Packaging business, DS Smith claims continued market share gains; its cost synergies from the acquisition of SCA Packaging are on track it says and should continue to be delivered progressively through the financial year.

"We have continued to gain market share through our focus on service, quality and innovation, as we leverage our enlarged geographic footprint and focus in the FMCG sector."