Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Taking Stock; Your At-a-Glance Guide

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Taking Stock; Your At-a-Glance Guide

Article excerpt

BANKING AND FINANCE

Perennial takeover candidate Royal & SunAlliance's profits leapt 21% to [pounds sterling]590 million in the nine months to the end of September, slightly lower than analysts' forecasts. Weatherrelated claims and major events losses were worse than expected.

BUILDING AND PROPERTY

Greenfield Construction, a building services company which came to AIM just over two years ago, today called in the administrators as its shares were suspended at 1.25p.

It said it had failed to secure new financing after demand fell sharply.

CONSUMER

Dairy Crest is buying rival Uniq's European spreads business St Hubert for [pounds sterling]248 million, part funded through a placing of 6.25 million Dairy Crest shares. The stock fell 32p to 599p. The interim dividend rises 6% to 6.7p.

ECONOMICS

The UK trade gap narrowed slightly again during September, official figures showed today. The trade deficit fell from [pounds sterling]6.9 billion in August to [pounds sterling]6.6 billion with most of the improvement coming from trade with countries outside the European Union.

ENGINEERING

Invensys rose 28p to 266p today after the restructured group returned to the black in the last six months. Invensys made a [pounds sterling]7 million profit on continuing operations in the half year to 30 September after a [pounds sterling]47 million loss a year earlier.

HEALTH

Phytopharm has suffered a twothirds drop in annual revenue but broker Kepler Teather & Greenwood Merrion has a buy on the stock, based on its progress with Unilever on developing a plantderived snack to help dieters.

INDUSTRIALS

Hargreaves Lansdown says the loss of the PFI Greater Manchester waste contract may affect confidence at Shanks in the short term but adds that waste management on the Continent goes from strength to strength.

LEISURE

Punch Taverns today said the smoking ban in Scotland has had little impact on sales at its 493 Scottish pubs. Pre-tax profits jumped 21% to [pounds sterling]250 million in the year to 19 August, on sales that doubled to [pounds sterling]1.5 billion. The total dividend is up 19% at 13.4p. …

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