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Most followed: Burberry, Rolls Royce, BAE, Starcom, Bradley Wiggins

Rolls Royce saw its shares nosedive by a fifth today

Burberry-Womenswear-Autumn_Winter-2015-Show-Final_002.jpg
Burberry shrugged off tough trading in its key Chinese and Asian markets to post higher half-year profits.

Rolls Royce (LON:RR) saw its shares nosedive by a fifth today as the jet engine maker warned on profits and forecasted sharply weaker demand for its engines next year.

It said issues had arisen in its aerospace and marine power markets in the third quarter that would create extra pressure in 2015.

Chief executive Warren East said the business faced too many fixed costs and was inflexible in managing that in response to changing markets.

Is also noted that it may scrap its dividend to cope with pressures on the business. Ouch.

Sticking with the bad news in the jet-maker world, defence group BAE (LON:BAE) said it would cut jobs on its Typhoon jet fighter production line.

The Typhoon remains an issue for BAE, which assembles the supersonic jet at its Lancashire base.

Kuwait had placed an order for 28 jets in September, but it failed to secure a Saudi Arabian order and current orders mean the line is set to run out of work by 2018.

But, in today’s update, Ian King, chief executive, said an “improving business environment” and an overseas tax benefit would support earnings.

The news actually boosted shares, which, as usual, responded well to the news that people will be getting their P45s.

One person with a new job, however, is Bradley Wiggins, who has replaced Victoria Pendleton as the face of Halfords (LON:HFD) as the company looks to turn around its struggling bike business.

The British Olympian and Tour de France winner will launch the cycle and car-repair chain’s new range of kids’ bikes.

The lightweight, affordable bikes will be released next July, in an effort to get more children and teenagers into cycling.

Halfords is hoping the moves revive its bike sales, which disappointed in the first half due to bad weather and price-cutting by rivals.

Peel Hunt doesn’t think the recovery plan will be enough.

The broker said: "The plans for cycle sales are solid enough but not earth-shattering and in general the bike vision is nothing new.”

In better news, Burberry (LON:BRBY) shrugged off tough trading in its key Chinese and Asian markets to post higher half-year profits.

The upmarket fashion retailer said adjusted retail and wholesale profit in the six months to September 30 rose 5% on an underlying basis and 4% on a reported foreign exchange basis.

The company also boosted its interim dividend by 5% to 10.2p.

Economic data from China continues to be sweet and sour, but today’s news gave investors a lift.

Speaking of emerging markets, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the UK for a three-day visit as a guest of David Cameron.

He will meet the Queen and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as well as visiting a statue of Mahatma Gandhi and addressing a crowd at Wembley Stadium.

Though he is unlikely to be taken to Cameron’s local pub, like China’s Xi Jingping was.

Back on the corporate front, Starcom’s (LON:STAR) shares soared as the remote tracking technology group unveiled a joint venture with US-based data management tech firm Sato Global Solutions.

Sato's technology includes barcodes, radio frequency identification (RFID) and other systems used to tag, track and link objects to IT systems.

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