Updates from Whitbread, Fenner and Oxford Instruments

Shares hit by Scottish vote worry but better news for Costa

savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100The threat of a Yes vote to Scottish independence caused - rather late in the day - share jitters yesterday. Both Lloyds and StandardLife fell heavily on Monday, down 2.43% each though the biggest faller was ABF, down 5.23% to 2757p. Better news though for Tesco, up 1.93% to 232.90p.

Most markets were subdued with the Dow Jones down almost 26 points to 17,111.4 with Exxon and Wal-Mart seeing some drift.

Let's commence with a trading statement from Whitbread. Total sales for the 11 weeks to 14 August climbs 12.8% and a like-for-like sales increase of 6.8%. Premier Inn grew total sales by 14.7% and like-for-like sales by 9.2% in the quarter.

Premier claims the gains are made from a buoyant hotel market, especially in the UK regions, and special events, including the Farnborough Airshow and the Commonwealth Games. Costa saw total sales growth of 17.8% and like-for-like UK sales growth of 7.3%.

"We plan," says the company, "to open around 4,500 new Premier Inn rooms and five joint site restaurants along with around 300 net new Costa stores this year."

Next, Fenner says that its results for the year up to 31 August 2014 will be in line with expectations. Trading patterns across the Group have remained broadly unchanged since the interim management statement on 16 July 2014 it says.

The Group has continued to re-align its business to suit local market conditions in each of the various regions where it operates though it adds the Group expects to take on an exceptional charge in the second half of its financial year.

Net debt at 31 August 2014 was approximately £120 million (compared to £121 million at 31 August 2013). Full numbers for the year arrive on 11 November 2014. Fenner's Hold rating was recently reaffirmed by Numis.

Lastly, Oxford Instruments says it achieved the targeted 14% return on sales and compound annual revenue growth of 11% over the three years from its 14 Cubed plan. Orders for the year to date continue to be ahead of the same period last year.

That's on both a constant currency organic basis, and as reported. There has been order growth year-on-year in North America and Europe in both Nanotechnology Tools and Industrial Products it adds.

"The good order intake in the first half of the year underpins our revenue projections for the remainder of the year...we expect the second half weighting usual in the Group to be more pronounced than usual."

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