Updates from Wolseley and Thomas Cook

Another quiet day for the FTSE 100 which climbed just 13.25 points on Wednesday, ending the day at 6,649. Sports Direct International was the biggest climber, up 3.53% at 732.50p with Lloyds Banking Group in second place, up +2.74% to 77.27p. Amec fell heaviest, down -3.93% to 1124p.

The Dow Jones finished Wednesday 24.53% higher at 16,097.
Let's start with third quarter numbers from plumbing and heating operator Wolseley. Revenue of ongoing businesses climbs +7.4% with like-for-like growth of 3.5%. Trading profit of ongoing businesses rises 9% to £218 million.

Like-for-like revenue in the UK was 4.3% ahead of last year including 1% price inflation. New residential construction and RMI markets grew but Industrial markets remained weak, Wolseley acknowledges. An acquisition last year contributed 8.5% to revenue growth.

"Wolseley has continued to generate good revenue growth in the USA and the UK," says chief exec Ian Meakins, "although like-for-like revenue declined in the other countries as a result of continued tough market conditions."

Next, sales news for the owner of Screwfix and B&Q, Kingfisher. Q3 retail profit climb to £271 million, up 1.7% in constant currencies with sales of £2.9 billion, up 1.4% on a like-for-like basis. French total sales climb 1.9% but in an on-going weak market with retail profits hit by promotions.

However Kingfisher's UK sales and profits are both helped by a "very strong" performance from Screwfix, which opened its 300th store in the quarter.

"Whilst we have delivered sales growth," says boss Ian Cheshire, "in each of our geographies our markets remain challenging, especially in France where consumer confidence is still weak and with no obvious signs of an imminent improvement."

Lastly, we finish with strong numbers from venerable travel operator Thomas Cook. Full year profits for the year ending 30 September 2013 are up £86 million to £263 million, a rise of 49% compared with the previous year.

Underlying earnings per share improve hugely to 5.0p (2012: 0.6p). Thirty six per cent of holidays are now booked online (2012: 34%) moving towards its FY15 target of over 50%. The company has cut retail stores by 21% from 1,101 at the beginning of the programme to 874 at the end of September.

"The balance sheet has been strengthened," says chief exec Harriet Green, "the £1.6 billion recapitalisation has been completed, maturities extended and we have almost halved our net debt. Finally and significantly, operational cash flow is gathering momentum."