Updates from BSkyB, Diageo and WH Smith

Global shares rout sees FTSE reel meanwhile AbbVie re-thinks Shire deal

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Huge falls for stock markets on Wednesday in almost every direction you cared to look. Global growth stress saw the FTSE 100 plummet 181 points - or 2.83% - to 6,211.6. The German Dax gave away 2.87% while the French Cac 40 plummeted 3.63%.

Shire was the biggest FTSE 100 loser yesterday by a massive margin, falling almost 22% to 4012p as investors absorbed news that AbbVie was taking a second look at its merger. Smith & Nephew shares also fell hard, down 5.39% to 921.50p while Tullow Oil sank again, down 4.69% to 494p.

The Dow Jones lost more than 173 points, tumbling to 16,141 as some investors sold higher risk stocks for bonds.

We start this morning with a quarterly update from BSkyB. There's a 6% increase in revenue to £1.9 billion, an 11% increase in adjusted operating profit to £316 million while BSkyB claims an 8% increase in adjusted earnings per share to 14.1 pence.

The company claims 60,000 new paid-for subscription products while Sky Store revenues more than doubled on a year-on-year basis. The company remains "on track" to complete acquisition of 100% of Sky Italia and majority of Sky Deutschland.

"We are seeing," says boss Jeremy Darroch, "broad customer demand for our products whilst opening up new revenue opportunities. In all, we added 760,000 new paid-for products, 8% more than the previous quarter."

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Next, drinks giant Diageo, clearly suffering from Russian sanctions and a declining Venezuelan bolivar. On a reported basis, net sales dipped 1.7% in the quarter as a result of foreign exchange gusts, mainly in respect of the devaluation of the bolivar says Diageo.

Organic net sales were down 1.5% and volume down 3.5%. Performance in Europe was impacted by declining net sales in Russia and Eastern Europe; net sales in Brazil dipped in the quarter as price increases were absorbed by consumers.

"Emerging markets' performance," says chief exec Ivan Menezes, "remains weak with further currency weakness in a few markets and specific geopolitical situations in some areas. However our brand performance has been strong in many markets including Turkey, East Africa, India and Colombia."

Lastly, WH Smith claims full year preliminary numbers sees earnings per share climb 18% to 77.7p while the total ordinary dividend per share is up to 35.0p, a 14% increase. But group total sales are down 2% with like-for-like (LFL) sales down 3% it admits.

Travel total sales climb 4% but like-for-like sales are flat; High Street total sales slumped 6% with LFL sales hit 5%.

"The distinct strategies," claims boss Stephen Clarke, "for each of our businesses continue to deliver good profit growth. We had another record year in Travel, with profits up 11% to £73m, driven by an increase in total sales of 4% and continued improvement in like-for-like sales, which were up 1% in the second half."

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