Updates from Foxtons, Evraz and John Laing

Margins remain under pressure for Evraz meanwhile Foxtons warns on lower sales as interest rate worries nag

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The FTSE 100 picked up 47.5 points yesterday, hitting 6,822.7 - a 0.70% push higher in total. IAG - owner of BA - saw a 3.50% rise with easyJet also surging, up 2.65% to 1354p. There was also some relief for Morrisons, up 2.31% to 181.8p. Miner Antofagasta though took the largest loss, down 1.18% to 798.50p.

More broadly, most stock markets climbed yesterday with the Dow Jones hitting 17,106.70, up 30 points thanks in part to better consumer confidence numbers.

Let's start with H1 numbers from steel and mining giant Evraz. EBITDA totalled US$1,080 million compared to $925 million for the corresponding 2013 time frame. A 17% lift. Profits though surge 105% to $297m.

Revenue overall experienced a 7% dip to US$6,805 million compared with H1 2013, a decrease reflecting lower selling prices as a result of overcapacity in the global steel industry.

The situation in the steel sector remains challenging says Evraz, with margins under pressure. "We are adopting a cautious outlook towards raw material prices: negative on iron ore and neutral to positive in respect of coking coal."

Next, high street estate agent Foxtons. Group revenue lifts 16.2% to £72.8m (2013: £62.6m) driven by strong sales and mortgage broking growth. Profit before tax rises 57.1% to £23.1m (2013: £14.7m) with earnings per share up 48.8% to 6.4p.

This cash generation sees an interim dividend and a special interim dividend to be paid of 1.77p and 2.77p respectively, equal to a total payment of £12.8m.

"We expect," says boss Nic Budden, "the growth in transaction volumes to slow from the rapid rate seen in the first half as the policy initiatives introduced in 2014 aimed at controlling mortgage lending, together with the expectation of increases in interest rates."

Lastly, John Laing Infrastructure Fund. Laing claims growth of 4.95% to £805.2 million on a rebased portfolio value of £767.2 million with a claimed total shareholder return of 3.99% in the period.

There's NAV per share of 107.0 pence, up 0.2%, or 0.8% excluding unrealised exchange rate movements the property operator claims.

"We are optimistic," says the company, "about new opportunities coming to market in the short to medium term, as we take further steps to build our overseas presence in Continental Europe, Australia and the US."

RBC Capital yesterday reiterated their Outperform rating on the stock.

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