Across the water the Dow Jones saw a 1.8% sell-off - the biggest tumble for five months - with a 332-point drop to 17,662.9. Fed interest rate nerves rattled markets while a plunging euro added additional unease.
Let's start with a full-year update from global recruiter Michael Page, somewhat buffetted by currency squalls. Gross profits climb 10.0% to £532.8m while operating profits are up 23.8% to £78.5m. Basic earnings per share rises 21.9% to 18.4p.
The total dividend is upped 4.8% to 11.0p. The employment player clams strong country performances from major economies: gross profit UK +11.5%, Germany +11%, US +19% and Greater China +22%, it says.
But adverse currency rates hit gross profits by £33m and operating profit by £6m in 2014. "This has continued into 2015," says Page, "if the 2014 results were restated at February 2015 exchange rates, gross profit and operating profit would have reduced by a further 4%."
Basic earnings per share increased 30% to 140.4 cents per share for the Jordanian company. Hikma warns however that adverse exchange rate movements since the start of 2015 could impact full year Group revenues by around 3%, or $45m.
"We performed well," says boss Said Darwazah, "in most of our MENA [Middle East and Africa] businesses this year and we are confident that the Branded business can deliver a much stronger performance in 2015. Our Generics business continues to perform well."
Finally, Witan Investment Trust claims a Net Asset Value (NAV) total return of 6.6% outperforming the benchmark's return of 5.5%. The NAV total return over the last five years of 70.2%, 15.7% ahead of the benchmark.
"In a year when market sentiment was less positive than in 2013," says Witan, "with no consistent market direction, investment selection was particularly important. Overall our managers outperformed."
The total dividend for the year is 15.4 pence per share (2013: 14.4 pence), an increase of 6.9%, including the fourth interim dividend of 4.6 pence declared in February.
Breaking news: London estate agent Foxtons says profits soared 8.2% to £42.1m in 2014
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