Updates from Barclays and Dixons Retail

The FTSE 100 took a 53.4 point drop on Wednesday, slipping to 6,733.6, not helped by grim economic sentiment from the US and more Iraq worry. Meggitt and Tullow Oil took the biggest falls, down 3.24% and 2.81% respectively. However Shire lifted 2.57% to 4517p.

The US news - its economy shrank at a rate of 2.9% in the first quarter - still saw the Dow lift almost 50 points to 16,867.5. The pound slipped against the dollar and euro.

We commence with an accusation of Barclays fraud from New York state prosecutors. They claim Barclays falsified documents, protecting some of its clients from aggressive high-speed trading.

"The facts alleged in our complaint show that Barclays demonstrated a disturbing disregard for its investors in a systematic pattern of fraud and deceit," Attorney General Schneiderman said.

"Barclays grew its dark pool by telling investors they were diving into safe waters. According to the lawsuit, Barclays' dark pool was full of predators – at Barclays' invitation."

Barclays says it takes the allegations seriously. A dark pool is a private trading exchange, rather than a conventional exchange where shares are openly traded.

Next, Dixons claims underlying profit before tax increased 76% to £166.2 million versus £94.5 million reported last year. It claims underlying operating profits climbed 24% for its UK and Ireland business.

Group online sales increased 16% to £1 billion. Total profit before tax after non-underlying items increased 53% to £132.9 million (2012/13 profit of £86.6 million). But group gross margins fell 0.2% in the full year, with an improvement in the second half.

"The Group is in robust financial health," says Sebastian James, chief exec, "with further cash generation resulting in a strong net cash position even after the costs incurred in exiting the non-core businesses. Best of all, our customer service metrics have again reached new records."

Meanwhile house builder Galliford Try claims its building business has been appointed to four new contracts worth £82 million in total.

Its Scottish business Morrison Construction has reached financial close with Hub South West Scotland Limited, the public/private development company working in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council, on the £26.4 million project to design and construct the new Clyde Valley schools campus in Wishaw.

Galliford also takes on a £16 million contract by Brookgate Developments to construct a new 230-bedroom Ibis hotel in Cambridge on a Network Rail-owned site adjacent to the train station.

Galliford Try