- Inverted bond yield curves in both the US and UK, often a warning signal for recession, plus weak German and Chinese economic data escalated fears of a global economic slowdown.

The FTSE 100 closed down 1.4% at 7,147.88 while the S&P 500 was down 2.1% by 4.30pm UK time.


Although they didn't emerge until 9.30am, results from Prudential were apparently worth the wait for investors, the shares initially marked higher before being dragged 5% lower to £14.21 amid wider market weakness.

The first half numbers showed a 14% increase in profit and there was also an update that the demerger of M&G Prudential would go through in the fourth quarter.

Sports apparel and equipment retailer Sports Direct reversed 9.3% after revealing that Grant Thornton had resigned as its auditor following 'a review of its client portfolio'.

Construction company Balfour Beatty rallied 10.4% to 217.4p as a cost-cutting drive helped it boost its first-half profit and hike its dividend by 31%.

Transport company FirstGroup dipped 0.4% to 113.6p on the back of news that it won a UK tender to take over the West Coast train line, replacing Virgin Trains.

AstraZeneca dipped 1.4% to £72.43 after reporting positive clinical trial results for an ovarian cancer treatment developed with Merck, and, separately, the granting of a US breakthrough therapy designation for a leukaemia drug.

Payments company Network International, which listed in April, fell 1.3% to 587.4p as its first-half profit halving thanks to one-off expenses related to staff remuneration and listing charges.

The company, however, also boosted underlying earnings as customer wins helped boost sales 12%.

Property investor CLS gained 1.4% to 227.5p as it saw first-half profits rise by more than a quarter, following an increase in rental income and portfolio valuation gains.

Cybersecurity company Avast jumped 7.6% to 352.4p after upgrading its profit guidance for the year.


Water-saving technology developer Xeros Technology fell 16% to 7.65p, on announcing that it planned to raise between £5m and £10m via a share issue and slash its headcount as part of an exit from direct sales business by the end of 2019.

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