UK and European markets recovered earlier losses to trade ahead on Tuesday. Investors were initially troubled by heightened tensions between the US and China, and various lacklustre earnings reports. Financials rebounded as the day progressed with Barclays helping to lead the market higher. The FTSE 100 traded 0.1% higher at 6,135, as of 1pm. In Germany, the DAX advanced by 0.8% and Madrid's IBEX 35 index moved up 0.7%. The mid-cap FTSE 250 bounced off earlier declines to nudge 0.1% into positive territory despite today's 10% plunge for outsourcer Capita. The share price fall came after the company posted a first-half loss due to a significant hit from the Covid-19 pandemic and said it would not generate sustainable cash flow for up to two years. Capita reported a £28.5 million loss for the first half of 2020. British retailer Marks & Spencer unveiled plans to cut 7,000 jobs over the next three months as it streamlines the business for a post Covid-19 world. The massive consumer switch to online has forced changes to how M&S does business in another blow to the UK's high street. Investors initially welcomed the news but soon changed tack, marking the stock more than 4% lower at 109p as question start to be asked about how well equipped the marquee retail brand is to manage the offline to online shift. Mining group BHP said it expected most major world economies except China to bear the brunt of a coronavirus-led downturn this year, after reporting a 4% drop in annual profit that missed some analyst estimates. BHP also cut its final dividend to $0.55 per share, down from $0.73 this time last year. UK housebuilders were strong after Persimmon, one of the sector's largest players, reinstated its dividend after reporting an 'excellent start to the second half'. That news gave the market some confidence in the face of Persimmon's first-half profit plunge, as it sold fewer homes due to coronavirus-driven disruptions to construction activity and transactions. Persimmon's shares advanced 6% to £27.70, while Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey also moved higher. Engineering and consultancy company Wood Group reported a 20.6% fall in first-half core earnings as the coronavirus-driven oil price crash dealt a major blow to its global energy clients. Compass named the former chief executive officer of Ferguson, Ian Meakins, as its non-executive chairman, replacing Paul Walsh who steps down in December. Gold prices extended gains to trade above the $2,000 per ounce mark as the dollar weakened.
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