News Column

CORRECT: UK MORNING BRIEFING: Surging Market Leaves BHP Behind

August 19, 2014

Tom Waite



(Correcting CRH profit and revenue figures.)

LONDON (Alliance News) - UK shares are higher across the board at the open Tuesday, as geopolitical tensions remain on a low simmer. UK inflation data to be released at 0930 BST will provide an early focus for trading.



Mining giant BHP Billiton leads FTSE 100 fallers, down 3.0%, after revealing details of its demerger plan, while also reporting full-year earnings.



Here is what you need to know at the UK market open:

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MARKETS

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FTSE 100: up 0.4% at 6,768.96

FTSE 250: up 0.5% at 15,871.71

AIM ALL-SHARE: up 0.3% at 761.72

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Hang Seng: up 0.8% at 25,153.46

Nikkei 225: closed up 0.8% at 15,449.79

DJIA: closed up 1.1% at 16,838.74

S&P 500: closed up 0.9% at 1,971.74

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GBP-USD: down at USD1.6711

EUR-USD: down at USD1.3353



GOLD: up at USD1,298.95 per ounce

OIL (Brent): flat at USD101.78 a barrel



(changes since end of previous GMT day)

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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

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Tuesday's Key Economic Events still to come

(all times British Summer Time)



09:00 EU Current Account

09:30 UK Consumer Price Index, Producer Price Index and Retail Price Index

09:30 UK DCLG House Price Index

13:30 US Building Permits

13:30 US Consumer Price Index

13:30 US Housing Starts

13:55 US Redbook index

16:30 US 4-Week and 52-Week Bill Auction

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Kurdish Peshmerga forces took control Monday of two villages located near Iraq's strategic Mosul Dam, which they seized from Islamic State (IS) militants earlier, local media reported. Alsumaria news reported that the Kurdish forces "freed the two villages of Sahlaj and Ein Manea" and are now advancing toward Zumar town. The move comes after Peshmerga and Iraqi troops took full control of the Mosul Dam in northern Iraq, according to army spokesman Qassem Atta. He said that most IS militants were killed at the dam.

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Israel and the Palestinian factions agreed Monday to extend by 24 hours a temporary ceasefire, just minutes before the deadline expired, but efforts for an extended truce were elusive. The sides have been holding indirect talks in Cairo during the ongoing ceasefire, in place since Thursday. There are still sticking points, negotiators have been quoted by local media as saying, especially with regards to the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

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Japan's leading index rose more than initially estimated in June, final data from the Cabinet Office showed. The leading index rose to 105.9 in June, which was revised up from 105.5. That followed by a 104.8 score in May. Nonetheless, the score improved for the first time in five months as initially estimated in June.

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The World Health Organization on Monday voiced opposition to Ebola-related travel and trade bans, as the virus that has killed more than 1,100 people continued to spread across West Africa. The risk of getting infected with Ebola during travel was "low," the WHO said in a statement. The declaration came on a day that Liberia ordered its armed forces to shoot people trying to illegally enter the country from Sierra Leone.

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A stockpile of Syrian chemical weapons has been destroyed aboard a US ship, US President Barack Obama said Monday. "Today we mark an important achievement in our ongoing effort to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction by eliminating Syria's declared chemical weapons stockpile," he said in a statement. He called the move a "major milestone" in international efforts to destroy the Al-Assad regime's chemical weapons.

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The governor of the central US state of Missouri on Monday lifted a curfew in a St Louis suburb that has seen a week of racial unrest, after he ordered National Guard soldiers to deploy to help restore order. Governor Jay Nixon said the National Guard would have "limited responsibilities" to protect a command centre in Ferguson, Missouri that was the target of protesters the night before. State police would continue to patrol the area, he said.

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The Icelandic Meteorological Office on Monday raised its warning level for air traffic amid increased seismic activity at a volcano in the south east of the country. The Met Office said it was closely monitoring the volcano Bardarbunga situated under the Vatnajokull glacier, although there was currently no sign of an eruption. A 2010 eruption of a volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier severely disrupted European air travel for several weeks after ash spewed into the atmosphere.

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BROKER RATING CHANGES

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GOLDMAN CUTS MEGGITT TO 'NEUTRAL' ('BUY') - TARGET 493 (533) PENCE

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Liberum Raises Bovis Homes Price Target To 975p From 930p - BUY

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DEUTSCHE BANK RAISES BOVIS HOMES PRICE TARGET TO 1063 (1057) PENCE - 'BUY'

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COMPANIES - FTSE 100

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BHP Billiton To Demerge Aluminium, Coal, Manganese, Nickel, Silver Assets; Shareholders To Own All Of Demerged Company; David Crawford To Be Chairman Of New Company; CFO Graham Kerr To Become CEO Of New Company

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BHP Billiton FY EBIT USD23.4B Vs USD21B, Up 11.5%; Profit USD13.8B Vs USD11.2B, Up 23.2%; Dividend 121.0 Cents Vs 116.0 Cents, Up 4.3%; FY Volume, Cost Efficiences USD2.9B, 61% Ahead Of Target; Expects To Meet Prod Growth Target Of 16% To End 2015

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AstraZeneca PLC said the US Department of Justice has closed a probe into a clinical trial involving anti-clotting drug Brilinta and won't be taking further action, as it also reported that antibiotic ceftazidime-avibactam hit the targets in late-stage trials into its potential use against intra-abdominal infections. The so-called PLATO trial for Brilinta was an outcome study comparing the drug as a treatment with aspirin against clopidogrel plus aspirin. It was established to see whether Brilinta plus aspirin could achieve a meaningful reduction in cardiovascular events like heart attacks in acute coronary syndrome patients, above and beyond that afforded by clopidogrel plus aspirin. It involved 18,624 patients in 43 countries.

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CRH PLC H1 Pretax Profit EUR61M Vs EUR71M Loss; Revenue EUR8.32B Vs EUR8.01B; Maintains Dividend At 18.5 Cents

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Standard Chartered PLC is in talks to pay up to USD300 million to settle allegations made by the New York banking regulator that it failed to identify suspicious transactions, despite having pledged to improved its procedures following a fine for violating sanctions two years ago, the Financial Times reported Monday. The New York Department of Financial Services may announce the settlement as soon as this week, the FT said, citing sources familiar with the matter. In addition, the paper reports that the bank is likely to agree to additional disciplinary measures, including extending the contract of an independent monitor charged with identifying suspect transactions.

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COMPANIES - FTSE 250

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Balfour Beatty PLC is in advanced talks to sell its Parsons Brinckerhoff business to WSP Global Inc, a Canadian consultancy, for GBP700 million as the deadline for a potential formal offer from rival Carillion PLC approaches, the Financial Times reported Monday. Citing a source familiar with the matter, the FT said WSP is the favoured bidder for the US design consultancy business, but said the talks could break down as Balfour awaits a revised bid from Carillion.

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Big Yellow Group Signs 5-Year 145M Loan Facility; Also Agrees GBP70M Facility With M&G Investments; To Have Lower Average Cost Of Debt

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UK Govt Shortlists Abellio, Arriva, Govia For Northern Franchise; Shortlists Keolis, Stagecoach, First Trans Pennine For TransPennine Express

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Cairn Energy H1 Net Loss Of USD62M Vs USD219M; Says Development Projects, Exploration Drilling Fully Funded; Continues To Seek Resolution Of Tax Issue In India

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John Wood Group H1 EBITA USD243.9M, Flat With USD243.2M Year Before; Expects Full-Year EBITA In Line With Expectations, Up On 2013; H1 Revenue USD3.80B, Up 10% On Year Before; Lifts Interim Dividend 25% To 8.9 Cents From 7.1 Cents

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NMC Health H1: Pretax Profit USD40.9M Vs USD32.3M; Revenue Up 15% To USD314.3M Vs USD273.1M; CEO Confident For Remainder Of 2014

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COMPANIES - LONDON MAIN MARKET AND AIM

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Vectura Performance In New Financial Year In Line With Expectations;

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Hornby Says Sales In 4-Mo To End-July Slightly Up On Year;Says Sales Performance In Line With Its Expectations

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Origo Partners: Celadon Mining Increases Stake In Chang Tan West Thermal Coal Project, Mongolia

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Gaming Realms Places Shares To Acquire eGaming Marketing Firm Blueburra Holdings; To Acquire Blueburra For Up To GBP10.5M In Cash And Shares; Places 18.1M New Shares At 33p Each To Raise GBP6.0M; Says It Continues To Trade In Line With Expectations

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H&T Group H1 Pretax Profit GBP2.0M Vs GBP4.6M; Maintains 2.1p Interim Dividend; Net Debt Reduced To GBP13.5M From GBP28.5M

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Rare Earth Minerals Raises Stake In Megalit Lithium JV To 30%; Pays USD1M For Megalit Lithium Stake Increase

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Mears Group H1 Pretax Profit GBP18.7M Vs GBP15.5M; Revenue GBP428.1M Vs GBP439.1M; Increases Dividend To 2.85 Pence Vs 2.50 Pence

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Berkeley Mineral Resources: ZEMA Approves Environmental Impact Statement; Says Focus Now On Commencing Production

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TT Electronics H1 Pretax Loss GBP0.4M Vs GBP8.9M Profit; Revenue GBP261.1M Vs GBP261.0M; Interim Dividend 1.7P Vs 1.6P

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Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust Buys Milton Keynes Industrial Estate For GBP9.2M

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John Menzies H1 Pretax Profit GBP14.2M Vs GBP18.4M; Revenue GBP944.4M Vs GBP951.8M; Increases Interim Dividend To 8.1p Vs 7.7p Per Share

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COMPANIES - INTERNATIONAL

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All eyes are on retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc after discount retailer Dollar General Corp on Monday made a superior all-cash proposal of USD78.50 per share or USD9.7 billion to acquire rival Family Dollar Stores, Inc. The rival bid seeks to thwart an agreed USD74.50 per share or USD9.2 billion cash and stock deal for Dollar Tree Inc to acquire Family Dollar Stores that was agreed up on in late July. However, Walmart is not expected to jump the bandwagon to make a rival bid for Family Dollar Stores as it does not traditionally buy rival retailers in the US, according to a Bloomberg report.

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AirAsia, the region's largest budget carrier, is considering a tender offer for Skymark, Japan's third largest airline, a report said Tuesday. The Nikkei business daily quoted sources saying Malaysia-based AirAsia Bhd was in talks with banks to buy the struggling Skymark.

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Tuesday's Scheduled AGMs/EGMs



Castings

Sunkar Resources

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