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Wood Group; Menzies; Persimmon

Wood GroupTue close: Wood Group reported continuing challenges with “little prospect of short term improvement in market conditions”. EBITA was down 7.4% to $225.9m in the first half on a 19.3% fall in revenue to $3.069 billion. The company declared an interim dividend of 9.8 cents per share, an increase of 10.1%, which will be paid on 24 September.

Cairn Energy tumbled as it posted a wider loss after tax in the first half, reflecting a £177m impairment charge.

John Menzies said it will “continue to seek both organic and acquisition opportunities” after reporting underlying profit down £3.8m at £20.2m. It declared an interim dividend of 5.0p per share which is payable on 20 November.

First half figures for house builder Persimmon reflected strong trading, with solid revenue growth, continued improvement in operating profitability and a strengthening of the financial position of the business. Profit before tax increased by 31% to £272.8m.

London stocks fell as data showing an improvement in July’s UK inflation lifted anticipation of a rate hike by the Bank of England.

The consumer price index rose 0.1% from June’s 0%, beating expectations that it would remain unchanged, the Office for National Statistics revealed. Core inflation rose 1.2% in July compared to a year ago, more than the 0.9% growth predicted, and up from the prior month’s 0.8% gain.

While inflation remains well below the BoE’s target of 2%, policymaker Kristin Forbes has said the central should not wait until that point for a rate hike as it could hurt economic recovery.

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.37% at 6,526.29.

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