The FTSE 100 opens down by 16.79 points due in part to a weakening of financial stocks including HSBC (HSBA) and Standard Chartered (STAN).

High street retailer Next (NXT) sees it shares soar by 9.8% to £44.02 as it reveals full price sales are up 0.7% in the second quarter to 30 June. The company has reiterated its intention to distribute surplus cash to shareholders by way of four quarterly special dividends of 45p each. This is subject to its full year sales and profits falling within its guidance range though.

Gold miner Randgold Resources (RSS) is up 4.4% to £72.95 as it announces a cash position of $572.8m despite paying a $94m dividend for 2016. Its half year to 30 June profits are up 53% on a year on year basis. Production is also up 16% compared to the same time last year. Chief executive Mark Bristow says ‘at this stage the outlook is positive’.

Defence and aerospace company Cobham (COB) sees its shares up by 8.2% as it turns a £12m loss into a £34.7m profit in the first half. Its results state that the company is ‘in the early stages on turnaround’ and says its organic revenue is broadly flat.

CEO David Lockwood says: ‘Cobham has a number of high quality businesses with differentiated technologies and know-how and leading positions in a number of attractive markets - this gives us confidence in Cobham's future.'

Insurer Aviva (AV.) reports first half operating profit is up by 11% to £1.5bn while profit after tax increases ti £716m from 201m on a year on year basis. The company is also increasing its interim dividend per share by 13% to 8.4p. Chief executive Mark Wilson says ‘The benefits of our geographic and product diversity are clear and Aviva has numerous sources of growth’. The company’s share price ticks up 4p to 542p.

Specialty finance company Non-Standard Finance (NSF) shares are up 2.9% to 71p as it announces both hikes in revenue and profit, up 16% and 26% respectively. The company is also acquiring high interest lender George Banco for £53.5m in cash and refinancing its existing bank facilities. The company has a new revolving credit facility with RBS.

Iron miner Ferrexpo (FXPO) is down 2.3% to 234p despite reporting a 29% increase in revenue to $591m and a 79% increase in underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization to $287m. The company has also declared a dividend of $0.03 per share, there was no dividend last year.

Another miner Griffin Mining (GFM:AIM) sees it shares enjoy a 4.6% lift to 69p as the company moves into profit in the first six months to 30 June. Its operating profits are $23.5m compared to a loss of $1.8m at the same time last year.

In the health sector UDG Healthcare (UDG) shares slip 3% to 814.5p despite saying its quarter to 30 June  has been good with revenue and adjusted profit before tax ahead of the same quarter last year. The company says that its revenue and pre-tax profit for the nine months to 30 June are ‘well ahead of the prior year’.

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Issue Date: 03 Aug 2017