Updates from RBS, Rexam and InterContinental Hotels


The FTSE 100 saw a 28-point climb on Thursday, ending at 6,808.8. Lloyds Banking Group rose highest, up 5.14% to 79.50p, buoyed by stronger profits news. Aggreko also surged, up 4.31% to 1645p. Sainsbury's though saw more share pressure, giving away 3.16% to 325.10p.

The Dow Jones gave away almost 22 points, finishing Thursday at 16,558.8.

We commence with RBS and for the first time in some time there are no nasty surprises. The partial-nationalised player sees operating profit come in at £1.6bn for the first quarter of 2014, up from £747 million in Q1 2013.

RBS was helped by expenses being 6% lower than in Q1 2013 at £3,190 million. Impairments were down £671 million from Q1 2013, with improvements from Ulster Bank, down 80% and UK Corporate, down 66%.

"We still have a lot of work to do," says chief exec Ross McEwan, "and plenty of issues from the past to reckon with. Everyone at RBS is focused squarely on doing everything we can to earn the trust of our customers."

Next, beverage packing player Rexam says interim management numbers from 1 January 2014 are in line with expectations. Volumes for standard and specialty cans had a quiet start to the year in Western Europe.

Africa, Middle East and Asia region saw strong growth. In North America, specialty cans also also saw Q1 growth; strong performance from South America helped offset the subdued mood from Western Europe says Rexam.

"In 2014," warns chief exec Graham Chipchase, "we are facing foreign exchange translation headwinds and metal premiums are at an all time high, but we continue to expect to make further progress on a constant currency basis."

Lastly, InterContinental Hotels Group. The hospitality player reports global Q1 RevPAR - revenue per available room - growth of 6.0% with occupancy up 2.4% and average daily rate up 1.9%

Americas RevPAR was up 6.6% while European RevPAR climbed 6.1%. InterContinental say $750m will be returned to shareholders by way of a special dividend.

"This reflects," says chief exec Richard Solomons, "our clear capital allocation strategy whereby we are committed to returning surplus funds to shareholders, whilst maintaining an efficient balance sheet."