The stock market dived sharply on Tuesday after a week of steady gains, following another downbeat survey of manufacturing by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing Managers.
The survey revealed that output is falling at its fastest rate for almost seven years.
By midday on Tuesday, the FTSE 100 index of leading shares was down 153.3 points at 5590.6 stripping more than £25bn off share values. The drop followed a 100 point fall on Monday.
Engineering shares made a mixed response, with the sector as a whole down 0.5%. Cobham continued its recent upward run, up 17p at 850p, Smiths Industries was down 2p at 861p and GKN edged 5p downwards at 669p.
Vickers, which on Monday announced the acquisition of Norwegian marine propulsion systems group Ulstein, was 4p weaker at 179.5p. West Midland’s tiddler Frederick Cooper, the coil coatings company, was flat at 25p after unveiling its first profit in three years. The company, chaired by former Newman Tonks director Geoff Gahan, said the recent sale of its US cutlery business Bonny Products would free it up to focus on its core businesses in the future.
After heavy selling on Monday, Siebe shares finished down a penny at 218p as more than 21m shares changed hands. Merger partner BTR closed 4p down at 124p after a similarly heavy level of trading.