Updates from HSBC, Heineken and Intertek

Currency volatility helps HSBC profits surge 10% in the first half meanwhile Rolls-Royce shares climb despite recent profits warning

savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, HSBC, Heineken, Intertek
The FTSE 100 lifted just 27.4 points on Friday taking it 0.41% higher to 6,692.2. Rolls-Royce and Carnival were the main beneficiaries, up almost 6% and 5.2% respectively (to 794p and 3552p). ITV shares powered higher to, up 3.35 to 280.70p; Persimmon shares also climbed strongly, up 3% to 2047p. However investors were less impressed with Lloyds' new numbers - profits came in below expectations - which saw the stock dip 3.2% to 83.20p.

Stateside the Dow drifted 56 points south on Friday to 17,689.8 as oil stocks Chevron and Exxon tanked, falling almost 5% and 4.5%; both reported the direst profits for more than a decade. However the Dow remained more than 121 points up on the week as a whole.

The big news this morning is HSBC: pre-tax profits surge 10% for the first half of the year. Pre-tax profits come in at $13.6bn compared to $12.6bn this time last year. HSBC is also selling its entire business in Brazil to Bradesco for $5.2bn.

HSBC's higher profits numbers reflect lower loan impairment charges as well as higher revenues it says. Asian volatility also helped HSBC's profit numbers. Operating costs though were higher, more than $19bn.

"We are," says HSBC boss Stuart Gulliver, "executing the actions that we announced at our investor update in June and our focus is on making significant progress during the remainder of the year".

Next, product testing operator Intertek. Better revenue momentum and margin progress results in 6.7% earnings per share growth and stronger cash generation in the first half of 2015, Intertek claims. The company claims full year targets are on track.

Constant currency organic growth rate improved 170 basis points as Intertek benefited from good growth in the products-related divisions and trade-related businesses, partially offset by the challenging trading conditions in Industry Services.

"The Group," says Intertek, "is extremely well-positioned to take advantage of the structural growth opportunities in our markets, as we offer an attractive portfolio of services."

Finally, we end with more than an 80% rise in first half profits for brewer Heineken. Net profits surges to €576m compared to €316m this time last year helped by strong emerging markets growth.

However earnings in the UK and Greece were more of a disappointment, offset by stronger sales in Eastern Europe and Spain. The drinks maker reiterated revenue growth with volumes more weighted to the second half of the year.

The Dutch brewer admitted that Africa woes continue, principally the devaluation of the Nigerian naira. "We are confident of continued progress and our full year expectations are unchanged."

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