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British Airways, Drax, SSL, Smiths, Vodafone: U.K., Irish Equity Preview

The following is a list of companies whose shares may have unusual price changes in U.K. and Irish markets today. Stock symbols are in parentheses and prices are from the last market close.

The benchmark FTSE 100 Index fell 0.31, or less than 0.1 percent, to 5,262.54. The FTSE All-Share Index declined 0.1 percent and Ireland’s ISEQ Index fell 0.9 percent.

British Airways Plc (BAY LN): Europe’s third-biggest air carrier won a U.K. court ruling blocking cabin crew from beginning a strike at midnight over wages and staffing. The stock fell 2.4 pence, or 1.2 percent, to 200.5 pence.

British Land Co. (BLND LN): The U.K.’s second-largest real estate investment trust said net asset value rose 27 percent in the year to March 31 as property values increased. The shares advanced 9.1 pence, or 2.2 percent, to 433.3 pence.

Dairy Crest Group Plc (DCG LN): The U.K.’s biggest milk and cheese producer said 2010 revenue fell to 1.63 billion pounds ($2.36 billion) from 1.65 billion pounds the previous year. Earnings per share fell to 40.6 pence from 56.8 pence in fiscal 2009, missing analysts’ estimates of 42.4 pence. The shares declined 5.4 pence, or 1.5 percent, to 353.6 pence.

Drax Group Plc (DRX LN): Europe’s biggest coal-fired power plant said commodity markets “remain challenging” and that the company has had good operational performance so far this year. The shares were unchanged at 329.7 pence.

Smiths Group Plc (SMIN LN): The world’s biggest maker of airport-security scanners said trading for the three months to May 1 is “in line” with management’s forecasts. The stock fell 6 pence, or 0.6 percent, to 1,091 pence.

SSL International Plc (SSL LN): The maker of Durex condoms said first-quarter net income rose to 71.4 million pounds from 54.5 million pounds and growth prospects remain strong. The shares advanced 9 pence, or 1.1 percent, to 825 pence.

Vodafone Group Plc (VOD LN): The world’s largest mobile- phone company reported a 1.7 percent rise in full-year operating profit to 14.7 billion pounds after it cut jobs and signed network-sharing agreements with other operators to lower costs. That compares to analysts’ estimates of 14.8 billion pounds, according to a Bloomberg survey. The stock rose 1.85 pence, or 1.4 percent, to 136.35 pence.

Yell Group Plc (YELL LN): The publisher of the U.K.’s yellow pages directory reported a drop in full-year sales to 2.1 billion pounds from 2.4 billion pounds a year earlier. Chief Financial Officer John Davis will step down as soon as a successor is in place, while Chief Executive Officer John Condron will retire by May 2011, the company said. The shares climbed 0.04 penny, or less than 0.1 percent, to 47.11 pence.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Martin in London bmartin38@bloomberg.net. Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net.

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