StockMarketWire.com - FTSE opened lower on Wednesday as investors continued to fret about a potential second wave of Covid-19 infections as lockdowns ease and data showed the British economy slumping in March.

UK gross domestic product shrank 5.8% in March, though that was better than market expectations of a 7.9% contraction.

At 12:00, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 0.8%, at 5,947.83 points.

Software company Sage was up 4%% to 680.8p, having booked a 39% rise in first-half profit, driven by a modest rise in revenue and one-off gains from the sale of its payments and Brazilian businesses.

Sage declared an interim dividend of 5.93p, up 2.5% on-year.

House builder Crest Nicholson rallied 3.8% to 237.6p, as it prepared for a phased restart of activity on its sites next week.

Thermal energy management and pumping specialist Spirax-Sarco Engineering rose 3% to £95.4 after its operating profit fell in the first four months of the year.

The company, however, said operating margins remained above 21% due to cost containment actions.

Plumbing company Ferguson was 2.8% higher to £61.3, despite third-quarter revenue slipping 2.2% following a 15.3% slump in April.

Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin edged down 0.4% to 268p as it held its interim dividend steady at 4.4p per share, despite reporting a 5.1% fall in profit owing to weaker markets.

House builder Taylor Wimpey dropped 1% to 144.3p despite announcing that it was reopening its show homes and sales centres from next Friday, amid 'stable' housing market conditions.

Inter-dealer broker TP ICAP fell 1.3% to 367.2p even as its first-quarter revenue rose 17%, reflecting higher client volumes due to market volatility caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Landscape products group Marshalls shed 3% to 601.8p on announcing that up to 400 jobs could be impacted by restructuring plans after its sales slumped 27% in the first fourth months of the year.

Cosmetics company Warpaint London dulled 4.8% to 40p after it reported a 63% drop in annual profit and scrapped its final dividend, as a modest rise in sales was tempered by lower margins.

Luxury carmaker Aston Martin reversed 8.3% to 34.9p as it booked deeper losses amid a 60% slide in sales.

Aston Martin said it was on track to start deliveries in the summer.




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