Engineer Smiths Group topped an otherwise lacklustre FTSE 100 earlier, after a deal to sell its medical division to ICU Medical delighted investors, sending shares in the company up by more than 4% to 1482.75p.
Smiths said the deal, worth $2.4 billion (£1.7 billion), with the US firm was “superior” to a previous offer from private equity bidder TA Associates.
Elsewhere, markets opened sharply lower this morning as investors continued to fret over mounting evidence of slowing global growth and news of Boris Johnson’s £12 billion-a-year tax hike to help fund health and social care, which is set to impact on dividends.
The FTSE 100 index was down 1.09% or 78.17 points at 7071.20, following broader falls across European markets.
Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC-40 indices were down 1.48% and 1.38%, taking their lead from a weaker performance on Asian stockmarkets overnight.
The sluggish opening came amid signs that the US economy may be faltering after weaker than expected jobs figures and as investors eyed a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting for further signals on its tapering plans.
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey was the biggest faller on the FTSE100, dropping 1.99% or 3.5p to 172.50p.
Other housebuilders including Persimmon and Barratt Developments were also lower.
M&G, the asset manager, was down 1.83% after the opening while B&Q owner Kingfisher was down 1.67%.
Elsewhere, the price of Bitcoin continued its multi-day slide.
The virtual coin was trading at $44,900 mid-morning in London, having shed as much as 17% following El Salvador’s botched introduction of Bitcoin as legal tender.
The FTSE250 index was also down 0.58% or 140.18 points at 23,957.30.
Video games developer Frontier — behind the Elite and Jurassic World franchises — at least managed to lift spirits on the AIM index, with record revenues of £91 million raising its share price 2% to 2705.0p.