London’s FTSE 100 fell in early trading on Monday following the release of disappointing Chinese economic data and amid mounting geopolitical concerns sparked by the Taliban’s swift resurgence in Afghanistan.

Asian stocks fell overnight after China released disappointing retail sales and industrial production data, amid a surge in Delta coronavirus cases there and elsewhere in the world.

The blue chip benchmark cheapened 0.6% to 7,177.9 points while the FTSE 250 was off 0.2% at 23,751.5 points.

The aerospace and defence sector was in focus thanks to the latest M&A news as Meggitt (MGGT) sanctioned a takeover deal from Parker Hannifin while Cobham and Ultra Electronics (ULE) agreed terms on a merger.

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Ultra Electronics rose 4.2% to £32.94 after the FTSE 250 defence firm agreed to a premium-priced takeover by Cobham, owned by US private equity group Advent, an all-cash deal pitched at £35 per share and valuing Ultra at £2.6 billion.

Elsewhere, on a quiet Monday for UK corporate newsflow, mining titan BHP (BHP) shed 0.2% to £23.19 on confirmation it is in talks to sell its petroleum business to Australia’s Woodside.

Speculation that BHP could sell its oil and gas assets to concentrate more fully on mineral commodities has been brewing for weeks.

Specialist publisher Future (FUTR) firmed 5.3% to £38.82 on news it has acquired consumer media subscription outfit Dennis for about £300 million. Titles acquired in the deal include Kiplinger, MoneyWeek, Science & Nature and IT Pro.

Retail logistics specialist Clipper Logistics (CLG) cheapened 0.75% to 795p, despite announcing a contract win with John Lewis to provide additional e-commerce and store replenishment services from Clipper’s new distribution centre in Bardon, near Leicester.

The contract builds on a range of existing services that Clipper already provides for the retailer, including returns management for e-commerce products, forward orders for furniture, pre-retail operations for clothing suppliers.

In addition, the Clicklink joint venture provides click and collect services for John Lewis e-commerce customer orders to Waitrose and Co-op stores nationwide, as well click and collect services for many other retailers.

IN OTHER NEWS

Building materials group SigmaRoc (SRC:AIM) skipped 3.25% higher to 103.25p on receiving approval from Polish antitrust regulators for its planned €470 million acquisition of Rettig subsidiary Nordkalk.

Mining company Premier African Minerals (PREM:AIM) firmed 2.3% to 0.23p, having upped the estimated development cost for its Zulu lithium project in Zimbabwe to $69.3 million and hiked the project’s expected value and return rates, citing higher commodity prices.

Greetings cards to design-led giftware maker IG Design (IGR:AIM) cheapened 1.2% to 544.2p as the news finance director Giles Willits is to step down from his role and leave the company for personal reasons unsettled investors.

Diamond producer BlueRock Diamonds (BRD:AIM) climbed 13.6% to 46p after it discovered a 58.6 carat stone, to be sold in an August tender.

And immersive entertainment company Immotion (IMMO:AIM) improved 3.4% to 6.15p after the company said it expects to nearly achieve a core-earnings breakeven outcome for the first half of the year following a strong performance in its location-based entertainment business.

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Issue Date: 16 Aug 2021