The FTSE 100 lost 2.05 points, 0.03 per cent, on the day, closing at 6,686.57 points. The index’s skew towards mining and energy stocks have exposed it to China’s slowdown.
Shire’s shares slumped 5.8 per cent despite saying the tie-up would offer significant potential savings and a “compelling” tax profile.
Insurer Standard Life saw first-half profits dented by a drop in sales of fixed-rate annuities. The shares fell more than three per cent.
Travis Perkins pulled back from its worst falls to end down 1.9 per cent. The building and DIY group reported a nine per cent rise in half-year operating profits to £182m.
Shares in Smiths Group jumped 4.4 per cent after the Financial Times said US activist hedge fund ValueAct had taken a stake in the engineering firm.
Meggitt was another company on the up, ending almost eight per cent higher after the engineering components firm said it was on track to meet its full-year forecasts.