UPDATE: U.K. stocks struggle to push higher after weak construction PMI
By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
Pound declines after disappointing construction data
U.K. stocks were struggling for direction on Tuesday, as the pound stumbled after disappointing construction data suggested the British economy is slowing further.
The FTSE 100 index was marginally higher at 7,440.47, after swinging between small gains and losses. A rise on Tuesday would extend the benchmark's winning run to a fifth straight session, its longest win streak since May.
Economic news: Traders got an unpleasant surprise from the IHS/Markit construction purchasing managers' index that showed the sector unexpectedly contracted in September. The index came in at 48.1 from 51.1 in August, missing forecasts of a 50.9 reading.
It's the first time in 13 months that the index has fallen below the crucial 50 threshold that separates contraction from growth, according to IHS/Markit.
Analysts said the data indicate the economy is slowing and could scuttle the Bank of England's plans to raise interest rates later this year.
"The slowdown in growth comes at a particularly difficult time for BOE, which is grappling with higher-than-target inflation and the uncertainty of Brexit," said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, in a note.