Updates from CRH, John Laing Group and Playtech

Shares lift sharply in the US meanwhile Asian shares make gains helped by Chinese government stimulus moves

savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, CRH, John Laing, PlaytechAnother steep plunge for the FTSE 100 on Wednesday, down 102 points to 5,979.2 and a 1.7% fall in total. Miners took the heat again with Fresnillo slumping more than 7% to 594.50p; RandgoldResources fell 4.6% to 3817p. StandardChartered, with much of its business focused on Asia, fell 5% to 707p. However BA owner IAG climbed 2.6% to 531.50p.

Stateside, sentiment was much improved with an almost 4% rise in the Dow to 16,285.5, helped by the diminishing chance of a Fed rate climb. A 619-point climb in total supported by Chinese stimulus measures to shore up its economy.

We start Thursday with an update from building materials player CRH. Reported sales are upped 13% to €9.4bn; down 1% in Europe and up 26% in the Americas. Sales from continuing operations surge 17% rising 3% in Europe and 32% in the Americas.

Earnings from continuing operations climb 29%; up 4% in Europe and 57% in the Americas. CRH claims margins have risen in all six operating divisions. The acquisition of European and American assets from Lafarge and Holcim is now complete and integration underway it says.

"Trading in the Americas has been good and, against a mixed macro-economic backdrop, underlying trading in Europe is broadly in line," says chief exec Albert Manifold. "We have made good progress towards achieving our goal of restoring margins and returns to peak."

We move onto property developer John Laing Group for a six-month update. Its net asset value (NAV) rises to £821.7m, up 6.6% from £771.1m at 31 December 2014. That represents a NAV per share at 30 June 2015 of 224p.

There's an interim dividend of 1.6p per share payable in October; Laing claims an 8% increase in external Assets under Management to £1,103m since 31 December.

"The strength of our pipeline of opportunities," says boss Olivier Brousse, "gives us confidence in our business model and we are pleased to declare our first dividend since our return to the listed market."

Lastly, Playtech. Adjusted revenues climb 33% to €286m while earnings rise 16% to €112.9m. The interim dividend per share is up 8%. Average daily revenues in its Gaming division for Q3 is 15% up claims Playtech.

The company claims plans are in place for growth and financial performance in a combined Financials division once all companies - Trade FX, Plus 500 and Ava Trade - are integrated.

"We have completed," says chairman Alan Jackson, "a series of strategic acquisitions to create and enhance our new Financials division, a high-growth and regulated industry, and our continued operational delivery across all business segments has translated into a strong financial performance."

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