- UK stocks pushed higher in early trading on Tuesday as optimism about a global economic recovery from the pandemic tempered fears of rising inflation.

At 0826, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 16.34 points, or 0.2%, at 7,078.63.

Luxury car group Aston Martin fell 2.2% to £18.915 on announcing that it was suing Swiss dealer Nebula Project for allegedly failing to pay some customer deposits for orders of its Valkyrie car.

Aston Martin forecast a £15 million financial hit from the apparent deposit shortfall.

Packaging company DS Smith slipped 2.6% to 421.2p, having booked a 37% drop in annual profit after the pandemic shrank packaging volumes and pushed up the cost of raw materials.

DS Smith said its performance had improved throughout the year and it declared a full-year dividend of 12.1p per share, compared to zero payment year-on-year.

Engineering group Melrose Industries gained 1.9% to 161.4p on confirming it would return £730 million to shareholders, having completed the £2.62 billion sale of its Nortek air management division to Madison Industries.

A circular seeking shareholder approval for the return, equivalent to 15p per share, was being posted Tuesday. Melrose said it could return more to shareholders next year, should a demand recovery continue.

Paris-based diagnostics group Novacyt rallied 14% to 4.75p, having swung to a full-year profit on the back of bumper sales of Covid-19 tests that it expects to continue this year.

Novacyt's net profit for the year through December amounted to £132.4 million, swinging from a year-on-year loss of £5.7 million, amid a more than 20-fold leap in revenue to £277.2 million.

Building supplies purveyor Grafton firmed 3.6% to £11.65 as it agreed to acquire Isojoen Konehalli Oy and Jokapaikka Oy for €199.3 million.

The Finnish outfits sold personal protective equipment, tools, spare parts and accessories to technical wholesalers and distributors.

Insulation supplier Kingspan rose 3.5% to 79.68p after upgrading its first-half sales and earnings forecasts.

Kingspan's sales for the six months through June were expected in the region of €2.9 billion, with trading profit of about €315 million, up from €200 million in 2020, and €230 million in 2019.

Bus company National Express advanced 1.9% to 283.4p following news that it had acquired Spanish bus group Transportes Rober for €13 million.

National Express said the acquisition price represented a deal multiple of 2.6 times the target's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

Industrial fastenings supplier Trifast shed 1.7% to 142p, having booked a fall in underlying annual profit after the pandemic hit sales.

Trifast nevertheless hiked its annual dividend to 1.6p per share, up 33% year-on-year, amid an ongoing recovery in demand.

Podcast group Audioboom added 1.9% to 899p after it lifted its outlook on annual earnings and revenue.

Audioboom said it would generate revenues 'significantly in excess' of current market expectations and increased adjusted operating earnings.

Recruitment and training group Staffline reversed 3.2% to 61.45p as it posted a deeper annual loss after the pandemic hurt demand in the high street retail, automotive and manufacturing sectors.

Staffline's pre-tax losses for the year through December amounted to £51.6 million, compared to year-on-year losses of £44.4 million.

Subprime lender Morses Club climbed 6.3% to 90.56p on announcing that it had seen a 'steady increase' in demand during the first quarter of its financial year.

The improvement in the three months through May had occurred across all lending products in both the home collected credit and digital divisions, Morses said. Story provided by