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Today’s market overview

China’s industrial production grew at the fastest pace since February, rising 9.7 per cent in July from a year earlier. The upsurge in industrial production compared to a 8.9 per cent gain in June, and exceeded forecasts for a 9 per cent advance in separate economic surveys published by Reuters and Dow Jones.

IC TIP UPDATES:

William Hill (WMH)announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire Tom Waterhouse NT Pty Ltd, the Australian online betting business, for an upfront cash consideration of A$34m (£20m), together with the assumption of up to $6m of balance sheet liabilities.

KEY STORIES:

Tesco (TSCO)and China Resources Enterprise today announced that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding and are in exclusive talks to combine their Chinese retail operations to form the leading multi-format retailer in China.

GDF SUEZ, through its Energy Services business line, has announced the purchase of Balfour Beatty’s (BBY) UK Facilities Management business – Balfour Beatty Workplace.

UK electronics/defence contractor Cobham (COB) has predicted the US will cut its defence and research spending in half over the coming decade and sounded a more pessimistic note about its growth prospects. The US budget is set to shrink by $50bn annually in the next nine years, unless Congress acts to avoid such cuts. Cobham now expects mid-single digit growth after 2014, compared to March, when it forecast expansion towards the high end of the single digit range.

Nestle, the world’s largest consumer food group, revealed that sales and profits are being held back by weak demand in Europe. The company said profits rose 3.7 per cent to 5.1bn Swiss francs in the first six months of 2013.Overall sales growth slowed from 4.6 per cent to 4.1 per cent throughout the half, with Europe providing the worst segmental performance.

OTHER COMPANY NEWS:

The chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia has resigned after 20 months in the job. Kim Williams, who took the role in December 2011, is to be replaced by Julian Clarke.

Mexican telecommunications giant America Movil SAB announced its intention to make a £9bn buyout offer for Dutch carrier Royal KPN NV. America Movil, controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, is aiming to increase its footprint in the European market, which it entered last year with minority stakes in KPN and Telekom Austria AG.

The US government is conducting both civil and criminal investigations into the way JP Morgan Chase sold certain mortgage-backed securities in the run up to the financial crisis, the bank has revealed.

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