MARKET WATCH

The mass resignation of 20 European Commissioners failed to dampen shares in London on Tuesday. The FTSE-100 index moved up 40.9 by midday to stand at 6247.7, with the FTSE-mid 250 up 15.2 at 5534.1. Engineering shares, however, were rather more subdued with the sector as a whole down 10.3 at 2365.6. Metal heat treatment […]

The mass resignation of 20 European Commissioners failed to dampen shares in London on Tuesday. The FTSE-100 index moved up 40.9 by midday to stand at 6247.7, with the FTSE-mid 250 up 15.2 at 5534.1.

Engineering shares, however, were rather more subdued with the sector as a whole down 10.3 at 2365.6.

Metal heat treatment group Bodycote reported a 52% rise in profits to £76.8m. But despite a 32% increase in the dividend, the shares slumped 110p to 872.5p amid profit-taking.

Charter unveiled a fall in profits of 3.6%. Its plans to dispose of the special engineering division by the end of 1999, however, eased pressure on the balance sheet and helped to drive the company’s shares up 20p to 389p by mid-morning.

Positive news also came from Morgan Crucible in the shape of the proposed £136m sale of the firm’s maintenance business, helping its shares move up 19p to 266p.

Elsewhere, Semple Cochrane made two acquisitions, snapping up Highland Power Cabling for up to £5m and C&C Electrical Engineering for up to £3.3m.

Semple Cochrane also announced record half-year profits of £1.25m, on the back of a 20% increase in turnover. The shares edged up 3p to 430p.

McKechnie was up 26p at 448p amid improved sector sentiment; Metalrax was up 3.5p at 89.5p on positive news on current trading; and Fairey recouped some of its recent losses, climbing 17p to 311p.