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Today’s market overview

The FTSE 100 is flatlining following yesterday’s fall, after Asian markets and Wall Street dropped on expectation that the Fed will taper QE sooner than originally anticipated after promising economic data.

IC TIP UPDATES:

Workers at the world’s biggest copper mine, in Chile’s Atacama Desert, have returned to work after an unannounced 24-hour stoppage. BHP Billiton (BLT), which controls the mine, has yet to respond to their demands for better pay, an annual bonus and improved working conditions. Workers will have another meeting on Friday night to decide whether to go on strike again. Rio Tinto (RIO) also holds a 30 per cent stake in the mine.

Surgical Innovations (SUN)said it had made a strong first half, and that it continues to trade in line with market expectations. Revenues for the six months were 28 per cent ahead of the same period last year at £3.88m, while adjusted cash profits were £1.14m.

WS Atkins (ATK) said it has signed an agreement to dispose of the ongoing operations of Peter Brown, its US construction management at risk business, to Moss & Associates. As part of this agreement, Atkins will pay Moss £2.6m. Atkins expects to report a loss on disposal of approximately £3.0m in respect of the transaction.

KEY STORIES:

Iron ore explorer Beowulf Mining (BEM) has delivered strong initial assay results from its drilling programme at Kallak South in northern Sweden. Results include one inclined drill hole with a long intercept of 89.46 metres at about 32.1 per cent iron, while a section in the same hole returned the highest ever recorded iron content from the Kallak South deposit to date of 55.9 per cent iron.

Australian miner OZ Minerals is currently carrying out due diligence onHerncia Resources’ (HER) iron oxide copper gold project in northern Chile with a view to taking a majority stake. The existing joint venture will expand to include the larger project area. Under the terms of the original joint venture agreement, OZ will spend $3m over 20 months to earn a 51 per cent share of Guamanga. That stake will rise to 80 per cent if the Australian firm spends an additional $5m over 24 months.

Range Resources (RRL) has responded to recent weakness in its share price, saying it is not aware of any particular event that would account for this share price weakness. The company confirmed that it is focused on ramping-up production from its operations in Trinidad, where production has increased by over 30 per cent since April

The UK’s only listed accountancy practice RSM Tenon (TNO) said that takeover talks with rival Baker Tilly were continuing, but any deal is likely to result in minimal value for shareholders. The highly indebted company revealed last month that it had received an unsolicited approach from Baker Tilly, but a potential transaction would require the support of its sole lender Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY).

OTHER COMPANY NEWS:

Dell’s quarterly profit has plunged 72pc from a year ago as the struggling computer giant was hit by weak PC sales. Profit for the second quarter fell to $204m, compared with $732m in the same period last year, although the results were slightly better than analyst estimates.

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