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Market overview: 04 October

Wolseley resumes final divi as profits jump; Walker Greenbank confident for year ahead; AZ in strategic bolt-on Indian acquisition. Plus a summary of business press headlines

■ Heating and plumbing giant Wolseley resumed its final dividend for the year ended 31 July as it swung to a pre-tax profit of £391m, up from a loss of £328m the year before.

■ Aim quoted luxury interior furnishings company Walker Greenbank reported solid progress over the first half of the year following strong revenue growth in export markets including Russia, Japan and China.

AZ Electronics, which produces speciality chemical materials to technological manufacturers, has acquired the polysilazanes coatings and resins business of Swiss firm Clariant AG, for a cash consideration of around €4m.

■ Gold and silver miner Hochschild has had its coffers replenished after its 51 per cent owned joint venture entity in Argentina repaid loans made by Hochschild to finance the construction and subsequent expansion of a mine.

Carillion, the support services firm, says it will meet market growth expectations for the full year following the £298m acquisition of Carillion Energy in April.

■ Engineering and environmental consultancy Waterman enjoyed a return to profit for the year ended 30 June 2011 as it continues to reposition the business in core markets and countries.

■ The retail chain Home Retail is apparently again the subject of take-over talk. Amongst the possible suitors which are being bandied about are Wal-Mart or a US private equity fund, according to a report in Reuters which in turn cites The Times newspaper.

Clarity Commerce has rejected Enigmatic Investments' £9.53m cash offer calling it "highly opportunistic" as it undervalues the software solutions firm and its prospects.

■ "A £1.4bn deal between Royal Bank of Scotland and Blackstone to rid the bank of some of its troubled property loans may fail, robbing the industry of a template for similar transactions," three sources said, according to Reuters.

Heritage Oil, a FTSE 250 oil and gas company, has spent $19.5m buying the rights to provide oil field services in Libya.

■ Identity and credential management software provider Intercede has won a software contract for an order worth at least $1m.

FFastFill, the AIM-listed Software as a Service (SaaS) provider to derivatives markets, has said that while first half sales will be ahead of last year, operating profit will be flat.

■ Oil and gas company Lochard Energy Group has opened a data room for the purpose of attracting potential farm-in partners for the Thunderball prospect on UK North Sea block 14/26b.

■ The controversial offer by US computing firm Hewlett-Packard (H-P) for UK data search software giant Autonomy has been declared wholly unconditional.

Business press headlines:

Eurozone finance ministers have put off until next month any decision to give the green light for a further €8bn bailout for Greece despite recognising that the Athens government had made some considerable progress in slashing the country's debts. Jean-Claude Juncker, Eurogroup chairman, repeatedly made plain early on Tuesday that none of the eurozone countries was urging a Greek default and categorically denied that there was any question of Greece leaving the euro area, according to the Guardian.

Royal Dutch Shell will not honour contracts for gasoline and other products from its largest refinery after a fire forced it to close the Singapore-based plant. The fire affected only the diesel fuel unit but Shell had to close the plant, forcing a declaration of force majeure. It means the company does not have to honour agreements when it is affected by an incident beyond its ­control. Shell shares fell 33.5p to 1978.5p, writes the Daily Express.

George Osborne is to throw a multibillion-pound credit line to small and medium-sized companies after Sir Mervyn King, Bank of England governor, refused to use the printing presses to give direct support to business. According to people familiar with the discussions, Sir Mervyn told the chancellor that any additional quantitative easing by the Bank would focus on buying government bonds, insisting that the Treasury should take the lead in purchasing riskier corporate bonds, writes the Financial Times.

The coalition's austerity drive means that the UK still commands a top-notch AAA credit rating despite facing slower growth, Standard & Poor's (S&P) said yesterday. The agency, which in August stripped the US of its AAA rating for the first time, reaffirmed its positive view of the UK's creditworthiness just as the Chancellor, George Osborne, took to the podium to deliver his speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, the Independent reports.

Factory output around the world fell for the first time in more than two years last month as the global economy lurched towards recession. The global index of manufacturing activity, compiled by JP Morgan, slid from 50.2 in August to 49.9 in September. It was the first time since June 2009 that the barometer has dropped below the 50 mark that represents the divide between growth and contraction, according to the Daily Mail.

Computers aren't supposed to make mistakes. And they certainly aren't supposed to have fat fingers. But on Monday currency traders were gossiping about a fat-fingered algorithm that caused the pound to crash by almost a cent after a computer mistakenly pushed through a large sell order.

Sterling collapsed from just under $1.5580 to just over $1.5480 in a matter of seconds at almost exactly the same moment that surprisingly strong manufacturing data were released at 9.30am on Monday. The pound immediately rebounded to $1.5550, suggesting somebody took a bath on the hasty transaction, the Telegraph writes.

American Airlines' parent company yesterday suffered its biggest one-day share price fall since the 9/11 terror attacks, amid growing fears that it will file for bankruptcy. AMR stock fell by as much as 40 per cent and the volatility caused trading to be suspended six times during the day as Wall Street openly speculated that a restructuring was imminent, the Times reports.