Updates from Hays, Foreign & Colonial and LondonMetric

Debenhams gets a new non-exec director meanwhile recruiter Hays meanwhile sees strong fee growth

savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, F&C, Hays, LondonMetricThe FTSE 100 leapt almost 78 points on Thursday to 7,015.3 with Aberdeen Asset Management and CRH leading the optimism push, up 4.23% and 3.2% respectively (to 485p and 1809p). Persimmon shares climbed 3.1% to 1733p. However temporary power specialist Aggreko was down 3.2% to 1543p, not helped by worries about its Yemen exposure.

The FTSE's gains were echoed Stateside with the Dow Jones climbing 56 points to 17,958.7 thanks in part to energy stock interest; GeneralElectric was the Dow's biggest riser, up 2.8%.

We start with an interim from recruiter Hays. Group net fees lifted 5% overall but 8% on a like-for-like basis for the last quarter. Hays reports good growth in Asia Pacific, including 7% growth in Australia & New Zealand; Asia itself delivered further growth of 14%, Hays claims.

The difference between actual and like-for-like net fee growth rates was down to material depreciation of both the Euro and the Australian Dollar against Sterling says Hays.

"Our Australia business," said boss Alistair Cox, "continued to recover, with net fees up 8% led by the Permanent business which grew 21%, and in the UK growth for the quarter was good against challenging comparatives."

We move onto F&C Commercial Property Trust. It claims a net asset value total return of 22.1% with a share price total return of 18.8% for the year to 31 December. There's a dividend of 6p per Ordinary Share, providing a yield of 4.4% overall.

Demand from overseas investors for UK commercial property was substantial and the main reason for the high returns during the year, claims F&C.

"Although," says the company, "there are short term uncertainties including...the possibility of a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, the Board believes that the outlook for UK commercial property remains positive."

Lastly, LondonMetric Property says it has exchanged on the sale of the 268,000 sq ft Brake Bros Ltd distribution facility in Harlow to Tritax Big Box REIT plc for £37.2m (LondonMetric's share: £18.6m).

Last year, LondonMetric accepted a surrender of the 16.8 acre site from Tesco and completed the re-letting to Brake Bros on a new 25 year lease.

"This is," says chief exec Andrew Jones, "a very good asset that has been a strong performer for us and our partner. It further demonstrates our ability to actively manage our portfolio to create well let institutional property."

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