- UK stocks are seeing a relatively slow start to the week after a series of big corporate and economic releases. A big fall in Germany factory orders offered some insight into the real world impact of the current global tensions over trade.

By midday the FTSE 100 was up 0.16% at 7,671.16.


Office space provider IWG slumped 21% to 237p after terminating talks with a trio of companies that had been pursuing a takeover deal for the company and reporting a drop in first half profits.

'The board unanimously believes that none of the interested parties is currently capable of delivering an executable transaction at a recommendable price,' says IWG, whose pre-tax profit slumped to £54.3m from £80.8m for the half to June, management blaming the poor performance on weak results in the UK.

Also on the back foot was Spire Healthcare (SPI), the independent hospital group crashed 22.1% lower to 192.6p on a warning 2018 earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) will be 'materially lower' than for 2017 amid continuing weakness in its NHS business.

'With our renewed focus on the private market, we are seeing encouraging momentum and expect our top line to recover through the second half of 2018 and increasingly in 2019 and beyond,' insisted CEO Justin Ash, adding 'the benefit of our major cost savings initiatives will accelerate through next year.'

HSBC softened 0.4% to 713p, investors reacting cautiously to a 2% drop in first half adjusted pre-tax profit to $12.1bn, the banking giant's results impacted by rising expenses from investments in a new growth strategy. HSBC, which has set aside a $765m provision to resolve a civil claim by the US Justice Department over allegations it mis-sold toxic mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the credit crisis, has appointed Jonathan Symonds as its deputy chairman.

Groceries giant Tesco confirmed it had formally entered into a long-term joint purchasing alliance with Carrefour which will become operational in October, although the shares were largely flat at 260.2p.

Budget airline EasyJet improved 10p to £15.59 as its latest monthly passenger statistics for July show 4.5% year-on-year growth despite the impact of industrial action, adverse weather and a runway closure at Gatwick airport.

Chemicals business Synthomer skipped 17.5p higher to 537.5p as the plastics supplier posted a 6.4% rise in first half pre-tax profit to £76.2m, upped the dividend 8.1% to 4p and reiterated full year guidance.


Content management and language translation software and services specialist SDL gained 3.2% to 522.4p on news of a good start to the year, with first half pre-tax profit up 30% to £7.8m.

CEO Adolfo Hernandez is excited by the acquisition of Donnelley Language Solutions, which 'accelerates parts of our premium services strategy and provides the opportunity to apply the same operational improvement initiatives to the acquired business over time'.

Disease and allergy testing kit supplier Omega Diagnostics cheapened 15.3% to 13.13p after swinging to an annual loss after sales slipped and the company placed its German allergies unit into administration.

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