London’s FTSE 100 is off 13 points at 7,050 and the FTSE 250 is down 33.5 points at 18,530 as markets in Europe take a step back on Tuesday following a strong start to the week.

Convenience foods giant Greencore (GNC) fattens up 1.9p to 185.7p on full year results that come in a little ahead of expectations, driven by solid growth in the UK Food to Go operations. Last month, Greencore completed the disposal of its US business and will return £509m of the sale proceeds to shareholders via a tender offer.

The food producer insists it entered the new financial year ‘with a stronger and leaner business in the UK following the refinement of its portfolio and the implementation of its streamlining and efficiency programme’ and there’s also relief as the food producer says ‘the risks from Brexit are manageable in the medium-term’.

Plumbing and heating distributor Ferguson (FERG) falls 1.6% to £51.14 despite posting a solid first quarter update, with sales up 8.5% in the 3 months to 31 October thanks to good organic growth in the US and gross margin up slightly year on year. The share price drop reflects lower profits from the UK division, as well as some disappointment that there are no upgrades to follow, with full year trading profit expected to be merely in line with analysts’ expectations despite growth across the pond.

Building materials distributor Travis Perkins (TPK) cheapens 1.8% to £10.80 as an initially well-received restructuring announcement engenders some uncertainty. Travis Perkins says its Plumbing and Heating division is now non-core and will be sold, its strategy for the Wickes DIY chain is under review and further cost savings of £20m-to-£30m per annum have been identified across the group.

Within the airlines sector, Ryanair (RYA) improves 1% to €11.75 on the news it has signed a wages agreement with German pilots and November traffic grew by 11% to 10.4m customers.

Start-up technology investor Allied Minds (ALM) advances 4.5% to 77.3p as portfolio company HawkEye 360 successfully launches its Pathfinder satellites aboard Spaceflight’s SSO-A: SmallSat Express rideshare on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Drug and delivery device company Consort Medical (CSRT) is definitely out of sorts, shedding 21.3% to trade at 772p on a full year profit warning. CEO Jonathan Glenn says profit before tax for the current year will be around £3m lower than previous forecasts due to delays in the expected approval date of Mylan’s generic Advair programme, which will reduce near-term demand for Consort’s dry powder inhalers.

Elsewhere, acquisitive fire and water safety expert Marlowe (MRL:AIM) is marked up 5.1% to 434p on stellar half year results showing a 60% surge in pre-tax profit to £3.9m on sales 57% ahead at £56.4m. CEO Alex Dacre says the second half of the year ‘has started well’ and with the support services group now expects to deliver ‘a full year performance ahead of current market expectations'.

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Issue Date: 04 Dec 2018