Shares in London had a lacklustre start to the week with drops on both the FTSE100 index and the 250. But the SmallCap index edged upwards on Monday, moving up 12.4 to 2399.1

Tuesday’s trading started with a reflection of poor performance on Wall Street, and by midday the FTSE 100 index was down 31.6 at 6121.2. A spate of corporate announcements provoked movements in the engineering sector, however.

Alstom, the Anglo-French engineer, jumped 77.5p to £15.75 after announcing plans to merge its power generation business with Swiss-Swedish group ABB.

IMl was a penny lower at 271.5p after announcing the sale of Marston to United Technologies for £16.6m.

Marston makes couplings, heat exchangers, tubes and manifolds for the aerospace sector. The company made a £1.7m profit on £19m turnover last year.

Shares in Delta dropped 15p to 118p after it halved its full-year dividend and announced fundamental restructuring of its electrical and plumbing businesses.

Charles Baynes reported a £4m drop in pre-exceptional profits to £18m and warned that 1999 had begun with no real change to the depressed trading environment felt at the end of last year.

Shares in TT Group, meanwhile, were up 1.5p at 195p as it launched another attack on the directors of bid target Hall Engineering. Hall’s shares remained unchanged at 140p.