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News round up: Thomas Cook, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Facebook, General Electric, Centrica, BP, US Federal Reserve and O2.

Thomas Cook plc (LON:TCG) has swung to a third quarter profit after making heavy losses at the same time last year, representing a significant milestone in the tour operator’s recovery under chief executive Harriet Green. Shares in the our operator rose in London in early morning trading, following the news.

The 172-year-holiday giant, which earlier this year underwent a major £1.6bn refinancing, said on Thursday that earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) improved on a like-for-like basis to £1m for the three months to June 30 compared to losses of £45m during the same period in 2012. The group has also more than halved net debt from £1bn to £452m, writes the Telegraph.  

Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds Banking Group said its recovery was ahead of plan today as it swung out of the red with half-year profits of £2.1 billion in an impressive turnaround on losses of £456 million a year earlier.

The marked improvement came as taxpayer-backed Lloyds slashed costs further and saw a 43% plunge in bad debts, to £1.8 billion in the six months to June 30, the Independent says.

Royal Bank of Scotland

Royal Bank of Scotland is expected to appoint Ross McEwan as its new Chief Executive as soon as today, The Telegraph reported. McEwan, a New Zealander who heads the taxpayer-backed lender’s retail operations in the UK, is considered the leading candidate to take over from Stephen Hester, who announced his resignation in June.

Facebook

Facebook’s shares have returned to their flotation price briefly for the first time since its disastrous initial public offering last year after reporting a surge in mobile advertising revenue last week, according to The Guardian.

General Electric

A High Court has ruled that General Electric 'conspired' to acquire airline’s planes on the cheap, The Independent reported.

Centrica

Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw says he would love to spare customers a price rise this year for the first time since 2009 after the energy group saw its first-half profits rise 9.0%, The Times unveiled.

BP

BP has gone back on plans to sell its US wind farm assets, which had been seen as part of the oil and gas group’s wider retreat from alternative energy, the Financial Times revealed.

US Federal Reserve

The US Federal Reserve said it would keep its monetary stimulus programme in tact on Wednesday night as it seeks to nurture signs of revival in the world’s biggest economy, the Financial Times said.

O2

Mobile phonecompany O2 has announced it will launch its superfast 4G network which will go live on August 29th, with bosses pledging a rapid roll-out, according to The Mirror.

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