Stateside, the Dow Jones trod water, rising just 1.1 point to 17,614.9 as corporate earnings news slowed. Five banks, including RBS - part-owned by the taxpayer - and HSBC, meanwhile have been slammed for forex failings, fined £2bn from UK and US regulators.
Let's start with a 28-week update fromSainsbury's. Underlying Group sales are down 0.3% to £13,916 million (2013/14: £13,953 million) while retail sales (inc VAT, ex fuel) are flat year-on-year. Underlying profit before tax slumps 6.3 per cent to £375 million (2013/14: £400 million).
On a statutory basis the grocer reports a loss of £290 million (2013/14: £433 million profit). The interim dividend remains at 5.0 pence per share. Sainsbury's says it's increasingly looking at introducing concessions into its stores in an effort to expand non-food.
Next, a six-month appraisal from SSE. Adjusted earnings per share climbs 5.8% to 31.1 pence while adjusted profit before tax climbs 4.6% to £370.3m. Reported profit before tax falls 6.2% to £316.6m. The interim dividend is upped 2.3% to 26.6 pence per share.
The impact of a "challenging" business environment and persistently low production and consumption of energy means SSE says adjusted earnings per share in 2014/15 will be at the lower end of the range set out in March.
But it still intends to deliver its principal goal, it says, "of annual dividend growth that at least keeps pace with inflation while achieving good standards of performance for energy customers across the UK and Ireland."
Staying with Tullow Oil, in an update the exploration operator says financial performance for the year to date, before write-offs and impairment charges, remains in-line with expectations. Average working interest production guidance for the full year 2014 remains on track for West Africa.
However European production is impacted by underperformance from its Schooner, Ketch and Katy fields it says. The Tullow board is also reviewing the Group's three year investment plan and capitalised costs.
"In 2015," says boss Aidan Heavey, "we will be focusing our capital spend on producing and development assets, particularly in West Africa where, by 2017, the Group expects to be producing, net to Tullow, over 100,000 bpd of high quality, high margin oil."
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