UK stocks opened lower on Tuesday after a bevvy of companies announced lower profits or gaping losses, while Marks & Spencer and TI Fluid Systems revealed big job cuts. At 0827, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 44.02 points, or 0.7% at 6,083.42. Clothing and food retailer Marks & Spencer rose 1.1% to 114.9p as the market welcomed a move to trim costs by slashing 7,000 jobs over the next three months, as the company reported a slump in revenue at its clothing business. Revenue at Marks & Spencer's clothing and home division dropped 39% in the last 13 weeks, though food sales rose by an encouraging 2.5%. Automotive fluid systems manufacturer TI Fluid Systems gained 0.6% to 177.2p, even as it added to the gloomy job-market news by announcing 1,000 layoffs. TI Fluid Systems also posted a deep first-half loss and scrapped its interim dividend, as the Covid-19 pandemic hurts the global auto sector. Mining giant BHP weighed on sentiment, slipping 2.3% to £17.994, having reported a fall in annual profit while cutting in its final dividend to 55c per share, down from 73c on-year. BHP pinned the weaker numbers on the challenges of Covid-19, unrest in Chile and commodity price volatility. Home builder Persimmon firmed 3.7% to £27.0848, despite booking a 43% slump in first-half profit after lockdowns crimped construction activity, though it said it had made an 'excellent start' to the second half. Persimmon declared a 'modest' interim dividend of 40p per share. Professional services company Capita slumped 12% to 31.49p after it swung into the red following contract losses in 2019 and the impact of Covid-19 in a year when it expected revenue growth. Engineering company Wood Group gained 3.4% to 219.3p, despite having swung to a first-half loss and scrapped its interim dividend after its oil services business was hurt by a sharp fall in crude prices. Pharmaceutical developer AstraZeneca's fell 0.5% to £85.35 amid positive regulatory news in the US for its Imfinzi treatment for certain cancers. Food services company Compass lost 0.8% to £11.815 on announcing the appointment of Ian Meakins as its new chairman, from 1 December when Paul Walsh steps down. Meakins was previously chief executive of Ferguson, Travelex and Alliance Unichem. Auto dealer Marshall Motor was unchanged at 127.75p as it swung to a first-half loss after Covid-19 lockdowns crimped car sales. London Southend Airport owner Stobart shed 3.5% to 28.85p on confirming that low-coat carrier Easyjet would cease operations at the airport amid a pandemic-related slump in travel markets. Restaurant owner Tasty fell 4.4% to 2.2p after it said it was continuing to mull a possible equity or debt raising.
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