More gain for the FTSE 100 on Monday, lifting 0.22%, or 15 points, to 7,037.6. StandardChartered was the biggest gainer by a large margin, up 6.5% to 1141p on talk of decamping from the UK, cutting costs. Miners BHPBilliton and Glencore also helped things keep aloft, up 6.4% and 2.6% (to 1591p and 307p respectively). BurberryGroup however skidded 2.5% to 1828p on wider luxury sales jitters.
The Dow Jones trod water at 18,116, down 11 points with transportation companies taking some knocks and lower trading volumes overall.
We start with new half-year numbers from building supplies player Wolseley. Revenues are 10.3% ahead of last year at constant exchange rates with like-for-like growth of 7.8%. Trading profit comes in at £390m, 12% up at constant FX rates.
Wolseley claims continued decent growth with market share gains and a trading margin of 7.9% in the USA. There's an interim dividend of 30.25 pence per share, an increase of 10.0%.
"We generated," says boss Ian Meakins, "better like-for-like revenue growth in Europe, despite challenging markets, as we invested in sales and marketing activity to stimulate demand. We are taking action to improve profitability in Europe in the second half."
Stripping out the impact of the loss of the Orangina brand, turnover increased by 3.3% claims Barr. All core brands outperformed the market, with particularly strong growth from Strathmore water.
"Overall market conditions," says Barr, "are expected to remain challenging. The UK soft drinks market is currently experiencing a period of price deflation." Barr confirmed the year had started "slowly".
More slowness, this time for retailer Game Digital with 2015 taking its time to pick up. Pre-tax half-year profits come in at £33.2m, down 1.8% while adjusted EBTIDA dips to £43.0m (H1 2014: £51.3m).
However adjusted operational cash flow rises £66.9m (H1 2014: £45.9m) benefitting from better supplier credit and improved working capital management, Game Digital claims.
"We continue to maintain our strong market shares and expect activity in the UK to pick up in coming weeks, driven by promotional campaigns around Easter and the launch of a number of key titles."
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