StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks traded lower at midday on Tuesday as global Covid-19 cases continued to climb and data showed the British economy bouncing back by less than hoped in May.

At 12:30, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 0.3%, at 6,161.

UK gross domestic product for the month of May rose 1.8%, missing expectations for a 5.5% improvement, having slumped 20.3% in April.

In company news, Industrial cleaning group McBride gained 4.7% to 62.8p as it guided for adjusted annual profits above current market consensus, as the pandemic boosts demand for hygiene products.

Auto dealer Vertu Motors revved 4.6% higher to 24p on announcing that it posted a profit in June that exceeded its expectations, after buyers returned following an easing of UK lockdowns.

Vertu, however, also said that it had reduced it headcount by 6%.

Defence technology company QinetiQ gained 1.3% to 303p amid news that it had acquired intelligence and law enforcement software company Naimuri for £25m.

QinetiQ also said that although its order intake in the first quarter of its financial year 'continued to be strong', revenue and profit had been impacted by lockdowns.

Online grocery group Ocado lost 1.2% to £20, even as it narrowed its first-half losses after Covid-19 lockdowns boosted demand for home delivery.

Higher sales at Ocado were nevertheless offset by continued investments in its logistics business, keeping profits elusive for investors.

Emerging markets asset manager Ashmore shed 1.8% to 420p despite a recovery in markets helping to boost its assets under management in June.

Online electrical retailer AO World dropped 3.1% to 159p, despite showing it swung to a profit as lockdown spurred online shopping.

Technology sector investor Polar Capital Technology Trust slipped 3.8% to £21.1 despite posting a positive annual performance that beat its benchmark.

Chairman Sarah Bates, however, warned: 'We worry about valuations and we worry that the sector has become a media favourite in some ways.'

Drinks maker Fever-Tree fell 5% to £23 after it posted a mixed trading update that showed rising off-trade sales in the US offset by a weaker on-trade performance in Europe. On-trade refers to demand from pubs and clubs.

health, safety and environmental technology group Halma reversed 5.4% to £21.7 as it warned of a 5%-to-10% drop in profit for the current financial year, pinned on the pandemic.

Disease test kit supplier Omega Diagnostics sank 8.4% to 34.8p, having swung to a full-year loss on the back of a writedown at its discontinued allergy operation.



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