Some respite for the markets yesterday: the FTSE 100 climbed +0.70% to 5,304 points. The biggest risers were Vedanta Resources, up +5.16% and Man Group, up +4.65%. In the US, the Nasdaq rose significantly, up +2.46%.
Overnight, Asian stocks rallied with the Japanese Nikkei rising +1.12% higher and the South Korean Kopsi climbing +1.6%.
We start with M&S. Though revenues for the year are up, £9.93bn from £9.74bn pounds last year, overall profits for the year slumped 16%, down to £658m from £781m last year. But overall Group sales climbed 2%, due to Food and strong international operations (though there were write-downs in Greece).
General Merchandise sales were 0.9% down with like-for-like sales down 1.8%. Total food sales were up 3.9% to £4.7bn. M&S boss Mark Bolland claims Marks & Spencer performed "well" in a challenging economic environment, growing group sales by 2% and holding market share.
"We managed the business prudently with tight control of costs and capital investment, delivering earnings in line with last year, and substantial efficiency savings in our capital investment plans."
Next, Vodafone. Group revenues are +1.2% up to £46.4 billion with full year organic service revenue growth +1.5% up. There's adjusted operating profit of £11.5 billion, up 2.5% on an organic basis claims Vodafone. Italian and Spanish trading remains difficult for the company, offset by better performance in emerging markets and Germany.
In terms of outlook for 2013, adjusted operating profit is expected to be in the range of £11.1bn to £11.9bn, reflecting the weaker euro offset by continued profit growth from VZW. "Our robust cash generation," says chief exec Vittorio Colao, "and the dividend received from Verizon Wireless have enabled us to translate this operational success into good returns for shareholders."
Finally, Homeserve, currently under investigation by the FSA for possible mis-selling. Full year numbers sees revenue up 14% to £535m with adjusted group operating profit1 up 8% to £128m. Established International businesses adjusted operating profit is up 78% to £29m. Customer retention is described as "strong" at 80%.
"It has been a challenging year for our UK business," says boss Richard Harpin, "however, we continue to make strong progress in developing our International businesses. We took swift and comprehensive action to address the issues that we identified in the UK and are totally committed to restoring our customer focus."