Britain's accounting watchdog says on Monday it is investigating the audits conducted by Deloitte regarding two of the annual financial statements of outsourcing services supplier Mitie (MTO). The probe relates to statements for the financial years ending 31 March 2015 and 2016. Investors have so far largely shrugged off the announcement, shares in Mitie down by just 2.2% in early trade on Monday at 265.2p. The company issued a string of profit warnings last year.

Better news comes from banking group HSBC (HSBA) which reports a 5% rise in profits in the first half of 2017, sending the share price more than 3% higher to 770.7p, heading the FTSE leader board. Europe's biggest bank reported a pre-tax profit of $10.2bn (£7.8bn) for the first six months to 30 June, up by about $500m. As widely expected, the bank has also announced a share buyback of up to $2bn which it expects to complete by the end of 2017.

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TOBACCO SMOKED

Tobacco firms Imperial Brands (IMB) and British American Tobacco (BATS) continue to sag in early trading on Monday in the wake of the crunching news of that they will be forced to slash nicotine levels in cigarettes in the US. That news broke late on Friday 28 July. Shares in the pair decline 3% and 1% respectively on Monday to £32.065 and £49.25.

British newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror (TNI) is ramping up its cost savings plan after weak print advertising and poor sales of classified ads pushes its half-year adjusted operating profit down by 9.4%.

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FDM MILKS IT PROJECTS DEMAND

IT project manager FDM (FDM) soars more than 12% to 891p as the company reports 30%-plus growth in revenue and pre-tax profit for the first half to 30 June. The recent entrant to the FTSE 250 index also talks up the likelihood that the full year performance will beat current market expectations thanks to particularly busy workloads in the US and across parts of Asia.

Lloyd's of London underwriter Hiscox (HSX) reports a 12.5% rise in first half pre-tax profit, driven by its retail business and a benign reinsurance claims environment.

FULLY CHARGED XP POWER      

A typically robust set of half year results draw in buyers of power components designer XP Power (XPP:AIM) in early trade Monday. It posts strong growth in profits with adjusted pre-tax pre-tax up from £13.1m to £17.3m. There’s also a near 7% dividend hike, to 31p per share, an important part of the investment story, as Shares has explained in the past. The share rally 6% to £26.40.

Slow or non-existent contract renewals spark a revenue miss announcement from energy services supplier Utilitywise (UTW:AIM). Management confirm that previous forecast of around £95m sales this year will now fall short by between £4m and £4.5m, with a presumably hefty knock on effect to the £16.9m pre-tax profit forecast. That sparks a 40%-plus collapse in the firm’s share price to 34.5p, valuing the business at less than £27m.

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Issue Date: 31 Jul 2017