Going down: Cadbury Schweppes

CADBURY SCHWEPPES dropped nearly 8 per cent. The confectioner said first-half profit rose only 4.4 per cent as it struggled to sell beverage brands to Coca-Cola in Australia and Mexico.

A rising thirst for Dr Pepper drinks in the US and better confectionery sales in its two biggest markets, the UK and Australia, offset stagnant sales in other parts of Europe. Cadbury wants to bolster its main sweets business with acquisitions, although it has to overcome anti-trust concerns about the sale of much of its non-US beverages business to Coke.

"We're looking to see them get a move on with the disposal of the bottlers," one analyst said.