FTSE 100 lower on weak corporate news

The blue chip index was firmly lower in early trade, as worries over the health of the global economy pulled stocks down. Weaker resources prices and concerns ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers to launch the latest bailout fund weighed on sentiment.

Materials firm Cookson Group and recruiter Michael Page led the index down in early deals, as both firms this morning issued profit warnings. Cookson fell 13 per cent while Michael Page slumped 4.55 per cent.

Brewer Punch Taverns fell 8.46 per cent, while materials company Morgan Crucible fell 7.66 per cent.

South Africa-focused miner Aquarius Platinum slumped 7.37 per cent on news that its chief executive is to stand down with immediate effect.

Travel company FirstGroup was off by 4.28 per cent on news that it could take legal action over the failed West Coast rail franchise.

Russian steelmaker Evraz dropped 3.74 per cent.

At the other end of the spectrum, insurer CPP Group topped the leaderboard, adding 9.38 per cent in early trading.

Supply chain group Wincanton rose almost five per cent this morning on news that it has signed a five-year contract with Morrisons to operate a distribution centre in London.

African conglomerate Lonhro rose 3.33 per cent, as it announced it had appointed a specialist to expand its agribusiness division.

Rig maker Lamprell continued its share price climb on Monday, as chairman John Kennedy last week announced a management shake-up to improve the company’s reputation.

UK banks suffered in early trading. HSBC fell 0.62 per cent, RBS dropped by 1.86 per cent, Lloyds Banking Group shed 1.64 per cent and Barclays was off by 1.62 per cent.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed 0.44 per cent up, while in the US the Dow Jones closed 0.26 per cent up.