Updates from the Co-op, Cranswick and PZ Cussons

A turnaround for the Co-op with ramped-up profits meanwhile BG Group shares soar on takeover bid

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savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100 pz cussons, BG Group, Shell, Co-opA 24-point loss for the FTSE 100 on Wednesday, slipping to 6,937.4. Shell shares came under pressure following its bid for rival BG Group (paying £47bn); some worry on the premium Shell will pay for BG oil and gas assets. BG Group shares, on the other hand, soared more than 26% to 1153p. A far more modest rise for Experian, up 2.7% to 1181p.

Across the water, the Dow Jones crept up 27 points to 17,902.5 with Nike climbing more than 1% while ExxonMobil dipped almost 2%. Meanwhile the Fed remains divided on an interest rate hike, latest minutes show.

The big news this morning is a profound turnaround for the embattled Co-op Group. Debts crumble more than 40% to £808m while food like-for like sales climb 0.4% for the full year. In total, group profits climb to £124m compared to last year's £255m loss.

The Group recently offloaded a significant chunk of its property and pharmacy assets; the Co-op also indicated that dividend payments should resume by 2017 - though not for the moment, says its new boss, clearly.

"The Board," says chief exec Richard Pennycook, "will not be recommending a dividend to members and believes that a resumption of dividend payments is unlikely until the rebuild phase is complete and we have returned to sustainable profitable growth."

We move onto a full year trading update from food player Cranswick. Cranswick claims a strong final quarter with underlying volumes 4% ahead of the corresponding quarter a year ago.

Total sales in the final quarter were 4% higher and 1% higher for the full financial year. Export sales to non-European markets continued to grow with full year volumes increasing strongly compared to the previous year it says.

Strong cash generation through the final quarter, it says, "resulted in year-end net debt being substantially lower than at the end of the third quarter and similar to the level reported at the last financial year end".

Finally, Imperial Leather maker PZ Cussons says overall performance for the last quarter - end of January to 8 April - has been in line with expectations. Country performances remain steady.

As to the Group's largest market Nigeria, the naira exchange rate is currently stable following a further devaluation; trading has resumed as normal following a short period of lost trading days during the Nigerian elections.

The Manchester-based company takes more than 20% of its profits from Nigeria. Recently PZ Cussons claims some change and innovation from some older brands, like Imperial Leather.

Top Stories: Shell to Buy BG Group and the U.S. Presidential Race

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