- UK stocks drifted lower in early trading on Wednesday after Wall St hit a new record high, while relatively pleasing local inflation numbers nevertheless showed the British economy was still struggling.

At 0829, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 9.53 points, or 0.16%, at 6,067.09.

The UK consumer price index rose a measly 1.0% in July, but ahead of market expectations for a 0.6% rise, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Mining company Rio Tinto shed 0.7% to £47.64 after it downgraded its annual copper production guidance following technical issues at a smelter in Utah.

Rio Tinto's refined copper output for the year through December was now expected at between 135k and 175k tonnes, down from previous guidance of 165k and 205k tonnes.

Latin American resources firm Hochschild Mining dropped 5.3% to 263.2p, having reported a 35% slump in first-half revenue owing to a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dividends remained off the table at Hochschild after the full-year payout was pulled earlier in 2020.

Software company Softcat rose 2.9% to £13.6715 on announcing that it would revive its cancelled interim dividend, having delivered a full-year operating profit 'slightly ahead' of its expectations.

The payout news came amid a decision by Softcat to resume its normal dividend policy and timetable later this year, though it added this was contingent on 'no material adverse movement in prevailing conditions'.

House builder Persimmon edged up 0.1% to £28.2412 as it announced that incoming chief executive Dean Finch would arrive earlier than expected, having agreed to leave bus company National Express at the end of August.

National Express, meanwhile, said chief financial officer Chris Davies would take over as interim CEO until a permanent appointment was made. Its shares reversed 0.4% to 141.1p.

Gas-mask maker Avon Rubber gained 2.8% to £35.27 after it was awarded a 10-year contract by NATO to supply FM50 mask systems, powered and supplied air systems, filters, spare parts and accessories.

LED lighting products-to-extension leads manufacturer Luceco jumped 16% to 184.2p, having upped profit guidance for 2020.

Luceco's expectations for full-year 2020 adjusted operating profit had increased to at least £23m, from at least £18m.

Compliance and energy services group Sureserve rallied 13% to 47.52p on announcing that recent performance had enabled it to 'consider a sustainable dividend policy', though it didn't give specific payout guidance.

Sureserve said trading for the financial year through September was expected to be in line with its expectations.

Traffic data and software provider Tracsis advanced 2.4% to 589p, having guided for a lower annual pre-tax profit, though with a smaller-than-expected fall in revenue.

Tracsis's revenue for the year through July was expected to be around £48m, down from £49.2m on-year, with the Covid-19 crisis taking out a £10m chunk that was nevertheless 'much less than originally feared'.

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