Investment bank and fund manager Investec expects half year operating profit to be marginally higher than the year before as growth in its fund management business outweighed weaker demand for loans. Loan write-downs remain relatively high. Investec says that the slow pace of economic recovery has caused a delay in the improvement of the level of non-performing loans while defaults continue to rise.
Interdealer broker ICAP continues to decline after yesterday's downgrading by UBS from buy to neutral.
Morgan Stanley has downgraded BT from overweight to equalweight. A new five-year IT services contract with Debenhams was not enough to stop the share price retreating.
Kingfisher is higher after interim profits from the DIY retailer were at the top end of the range of expectations. The B&Q owner said adjusted pre-tax profit for the 26 weeks ended July 2010 rose 23% to £354m, which was above the median forecast of £342m.
Chief executive Ian Cheshire warned that the immediate outlook for consumer spending is 'fragile'. That was confirmed by an unexpected fall in retail sales in August. Sales excluding cars and petrol fell by 0.5% on the month.
Goldman Sachs has raised its recommendation for Cable & Wireless Worldwide from neutral to buy. This follows the telecoms company's £82m contract with a government department.
Investec, the FTSE 250 Anglo-South African banking group, said Thursday that operating costs rose by four per cent in the nine months ended December 31st, compared to the same period the previous year. [31 Jan '13]
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