Construction slows, bringing index down
July’s contraction in the construction industry is the first for three months.
However, a report from Nationwide showed UK house prices rose 3.5% year-on-year in July, as expected, accelerating from the previous month’s 3.3% gain.
The Athens General Index dropped for a second day after falling as much as 23% on Monday on concerns over the country’s bailout talks and economy.
Company news was led by Shire as the Dublin-headquartered pharmaceuticals group made a hostile takeover approach for US immune deficiencies specialist Baxalta at roughly $30.6bn, only a month after it was spun out by Baxter International.
Royal Bank of Scotland recovered in afternoon trade from an earlier decline as the government sold a 5.4% stake in the part-owned state bank.
Standard Life slipped after the insurer reported a drop in first half revenue, blaming market volatility. Meggitt gained after posting a 6% rise in underlying first-half pre-tax profit as stronger-than-expected military revenue offset challenging conditions in the energy market, and announced two contract wins.
Smiths Group advanced after it emerged that US activist hedge fund ValueAct is a shareholder. According to theFinancial Times, ValueAct’s stake in Smiths is below the 5% required for disclosure to the London Stock Exchange.
ARM Holdings edged lower after announcing a reshuffling of the board with Stephen Pusey and Lawton Fitt appointed as independent non-executive directors.
Direct Line Insurance Group climbed as it reported a rise in pre-tax profit for the first half and raised its interim dividend.