StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks reversed their earlier gains to close well into the red on Tuesday after the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte opened a can of worms for markets across Europe.

Also not helping the UK's leading index was the mid-afternoon gain in the pound, which made up ground from its midday losses against the euro and dollar to end the day broadly flat against both currencies.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index closed 0.9%, or 64.65 points, lower at 7,125.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Mining giant BHP fell 2.6% to £17.35, despite declaring a record annual dividend, as its profits fell short of market expectations and it warned of an uncertain economic outlook marred by trade tensions.

Services company Wood Group dropped 4.3% to 431p despite news that it had sold its nuclear business to a subsidiary of Jacobs for £250m, while also swinging to a first-half profit.

House builder Persimmon dipped 0.6% to £18.50 as it booked a small fall in first-half profit.

Revenue was hit, as expected, by a decision to sell homes later in their construction process to address quality concerns, though operating margins remained strong at 31%.

Pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca closed broadly flat at £72.79 after it reported positive trial results for a diabetes drug.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Subprime lender Non-Standard Finance gained 3.87% to 34.9p, despite it booking a deeper first-half loss, partly owing to costs associated with its failed takeover bid for rival Provident Financial.

The company also posted a rise in underlying revenue and earnings, while lifting its dividend 17%.

Disease and allergy testing company Omega Diagnostics rallied 9.18% to 9.28p after it received its first purchase order for an HIV testing kit from its partner company in Zimbabwe.

Avesoro Resources jumped 24.2% to 85.7p on revealing that controlling shareholder Avesoro Jersey had offered to buy the remaining shares in the company it didn't already own for £1 each.

Online retailer MySale plunged 30.45% to 3.3p after it launched a heavily dilutionary £10m equity raising at 2p a share to repay its bank debt.


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