StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened lower on Tuesday as concerns that Italy's populist government would increase its debt pile continued to weigh on regional markets.

At 0854, the benchmark FTSE 100 was down 24.35 points, or 0.3%, at 7.471.32.

Plumbing and heating products group Ferguson slumped 4.7%, despite hiking its dividend by 21%, after a strong profit performance in the US was offset by 'tough' conditions in the UK.

Royal Dutch Shell gained 0.3% as it and partners decided to start constructing a multi-billion dollar gas export plant in Canada.

The decision showed oil companies are becoming confident about making large bets again following 2014's collapse in oil prices. BP gained 0.5%.

Ryanair, which announced a shock profit downgrade yesterday, fell another 2.1% after announcing it had cancelled 400 flights in September. Passenger volumes nevertheless grew 11% during the month.

Hungarian budget rival Wizz Air said it carried 18% more passenger during the month of September on-year, as it added a new aircraft in Poland. Its shares descended 0.3%.

Upmarket bar owner Revolution Bars shed 1.6% after it swung to an annual loss. Revenue came under pressure in the second half and expenses were pushed up by asset write-downs and bar opening costs.

Defence contractor Meggitt said it had won a $323m five-year contract with the US Defense Logistics Agency to supply wheels, brakes and related spare parts for aircraft. Its shares eased back 0.4%.

Furniture and flooring retailer ScS gained 5.5% as it posted a 14% rise in annual profit, owing to modest growth in sales and higher margins amid 'challenging' trading conditions.

Real estate portal On The Market said it has signed listing arrangements with UK estate and lettings agents with more than 11,000 offices. Its shares rose 0.3%.

Ingredient and flavoring supplier Treatt dulled 6.4% after it said its annual like-for-like sales had grown by 9%, though margins had fallen.

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