Updates from Whitbread, Reckitt Benckiser and William Hill

Whitbread posts strong first-half profits while William Hill sees profits surge

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The FTSE 100 saw more pressure on Monday with a 43-point dip to 6,267. BG Group and Kingfisher took the biggest dents, down 3.80% (to 1024.50p) and 3% (to 290p) respectively. Tullow Oil sank again, down almost 3% to 508p. But better news for the travel industry with InterContinental Hotels Group surging more than 4.3% to 2249p while IAG lifted 3.14% to 361p.

Over in the US the Dow Jones lifted just 19 points to 16,399.6 with disappointing numbers from IBM not helping the wider mood, its shares skidding badly.

We start with new numbers from household brands player Reckitt Benckiser for the third quarter. Q3 like-for-like growth rises +2% (+3% ex RBP) helped by strong growth in Russia, Middle East and Africa, offset by slower markets in South East Asia and Latin America.

Boss Rakesh Kapoor says he's still expecting to meet full year revenue targets, but at the lower end of the range of 4-5%. Progress is being supported from cost cutting the company says.

Reckitt is increasingly carving out a niche as a health and hygiene player. Sanford Bernstein recently restated their Outperform rating on the stock with a 5,450p price target (currently 5141p).

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Next, a slew of new numbers from Costa owner Whitbread for the six months up to 28 August. Total revenues climb 13.0% to £1,293.2 million (2013/14: £1,144.7 million) while group like-for-like sales are up 7.0%

Underlying profit before tax climbs 18.5% to £256.0 million (2013/14: £216.1 million). Basic earnings per share rises 21.5% to 111.69p (2013/14: 91.94p) while the interim dividend climbs 15.6% to 25.20p (2013/14: 21.80p).

Costa underlying profits climb 20.5% to £52.4 million (2013/14: £43.5 million). However the comparatives, looking ahead, "become more demanding," warns chief exec Andy Harrison, "especially in the fourth quarter, due to the benign winter weather last year which caused minimal trading disruption."

Lastly, a quarterly from William Hill to 20 October. It claims operating profit surges 89% while group net revenues are up 23%. Retail operating profit climbs 31%, driven by strong gross win margins and ongoing machine strength it claims.

Online gaming continues to see gains from mobile investment and Sportsbook turnover growth remains healthy, it adds. All this means Hill expects operating profit for 2014 to be towards the top end of the current consensus range.

"Positive sporting results in the quarter," says boss James Henderson, "including a strong end to the World Cup, have moved us close to or ahead of normalised gross win margins on a year-to-date basis."

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