et another record US close has translated into moderate gains for Europe, tempered by industrial production figures that saw a slight miss from the UK and another woeful number from France, who posted a 0.3% decline against forecasts of a positive 0.2% reading.
Overnight, mixed Chinese data further muddied the water on its growth outlook, with retail sales accelerating at the strongest levels this year, while industrial production cooled to a 4 month low. Markets remain reactive to each fresh piece of the puzzle from the orient, but you would be brave to have any conviction on growth targets in the current environment especially in the midst of equally hazy economic reform.
CSR, the UK based chipmaker was top of the tree this morning after announcing its exit from the world of digital cameras to focus on other growth markets. Analysts seem to see it as a shrewd move, with Liberam Capital claiming it showed a “very disciplined” management to concentrate on high performance sectors of the business. The move will see the firm take an initial $90m impairment hit, but judging by today’s response, investors have clearly looked beyond that to spot long term value in the decision.
Kazakhmys had a double dose of news this morning, announcing the sale of its 50% stake in Kazakhstan’s largest power station, as well as noting that costs at its Bozshakol mine would now be more than originally expected. In response to the additional costs, the miner has hired Non Ferrous China as a second contractor and believes the funds from the sale of its Power station interest represent both a good investment return and a bump in cash to help fund the Bozshakol mine and future projects.
Lloyd’s will sell the remainder of their stake in St. James’ place to institutional investors, boosting capital by up to £670m and booking a welcome £90m profit in a continuation of its restructuring plan.
Whitbread reported a 13.8% rise in total sales this morning and remains on track to hit full year targets. Its Costa Coffee chain has bean one of the stand out performers, with total sales up over 20% in Q3 following rapid expansion across the UK. The results also saw a helping hand from Premier Inn, with sales up 13.7% after adding another 22 hotels to its books.
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