London stock markets open in a cautionary mood in early trade on Tuesday as investors continue to react to yesterday's PMI figures for July, the UK's first real post-Brexit confidence indicator, which showed manufacturing declining at its fastest pace in three years. Today's macroeconomics come in the form of the Markit Construction PMI, while the Eurozone releases PPI data and later US personal income and spending figures will be reported.
The blue-chips FSE 100 index slides around 15 points, or about 0.2%, to 6,679 with declines across midcaps marginally more pronounced, the FTSE 250 off around 0.4% at 17,071.
In corporate news, insurer Direct Line (DLG) heads the Footsie leader board in early trade as it posts a 3.9% increase in underlying premiums and unveils a 10p per share one-off dividend. The shares rally more than 4.5% to 371.5p.
Robust half year figures pep-up shares in construction group Morgan Sindall (MGNS), the stock up 6% at 605p. The group posts a 21% jump in underlying and adjusted pre-tax profit to £16.1 million despite largely flat revenues of £1.15 billion. Tere is also news of chairman Adrian Martin's decision to stand down by the end of the year.
Going the other way are shares in £1 billion-plus chemicals group Elementis (ELM), down 5.2% at 208p. The decline comes despite reporting what it calls 'results in line with a recent trading update' but investors will no doubt be a little concerned by downward pressure on operating profits and margins.
Among the bigger movers, a new fertiliser supply agreement with Rockwell Fertilisers in Zambia gives African Potash (AFPO:AIM) a big lift, the stock jumping more than 11% to 0.48p.
But a new share placing aimed at raising £1.1 million puts shares in APC Technology (APC:AIM) on the skids. The fresh cash will go towards ongoing turnaround work within the business and pepping-up its order pipeline. But the 20% discount on the new stock, priced at 8p per share versus last night's 10p close, drags the price 10% lower to 9p.
Engineer Rotork (ROR) falls 4.3% to 204.5p as half year profit falls by just over a third to £38.3 million. Chief executive Peter France says the trading environment is tough with the low oil price continuing to delay project activity.
News that half year results will beat expectations sends computer game translation specialist Keywords Studios (KWS:AIM) up 5.4% to 342.5p. The boost in earnings has primarily been driven by recent acquisition, Synthesis.
Yet another negative trading update sends Lakehouse (LAKE) tumbling on the stock market, down 11.2% to 28.63p. The support services group warns that it may suffer a hit to cash flow as it tries to resolve contract problems in its regeneration arm. The news overshadows a £37 million contract win with Scottish Power to install smart meters.
BBA Aviation (BBA) rises 5.7% to 248.3p as it says the integration of service provider Landmark Aviation, bought in September 2015 for $2 billion, is ahead of plan. Half-year results are also ahead of analyst forecasts.
Bakery food-on-the-go retailer Greggs (GRG) fattens up 2.3% to £10.76 on solid interims showing robust top-line growth, like-for-like sales up an encouraging 3.8%, and with CEO Roger Whiteside also flagging an encouraging start to the second half.
IRN-BRU maker A.G. Barr (BAG) softens 5.5p to 530.5p on a weak first-half trading update. The Rubicon, Strathmore and Funkin brands-owner expects to report a 2.9% sales drop to £125 million, not helped by poor weather in June and into July, and also warns input costs will rise in 2017 due to sterling weakness post-Brexit.
Life sciences research specialist Cyprotex (CRX:AIM) advances 4% to 144p on making a £1.5 million operating profit in the six months 30 June. This reverses the £400,000 loss recorded 12 months earlier and is the result of winning new customers and upgrading its offering.