The FTSE 250 was down 0.2% to 20,727.69 in afternoon trade on Thursday as investors sifted through trading updates.
Ultra Electronics surged after saying it sees "significant exposure to the strengthening US defence budget", while builders merchant Grafton was higher as it said it now expects 2017 earnings before interest, tax and amortisation to be slightly ahead of consensus estimates.
Recruiter Hays was in the black as it posted a 13% jump in second-quarter net fees thanks to a solid performance form its international businesses as the UK segment was broadly flat.
On the downside, Card Factory shares
slid even as the company hailed a "solid" Christmas trading period, as it warned that continued margin pressure will limit any earnings growth for this year. The company said it now expects underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation for the year to be between £93m and £95m, down from £98.5m the year before.
Pub group Greene King was under the cosh as Numis downgraded the stock to 'reduce', saying it remains cautious about managed pubs given above-average exposure to labour costs and high operational gearing. It added that Greene King's recent share price rise seems unjustified.
Wholesaler Booker was in the red despite saying third-quarter sales rose 3.4%, with like-for-likes up 3.8%.
Engineer Weir retreated as it said that based on a preliminary assessment, it expects the effective tax rate for 2018 to be around 25% following US tax reforms, while Jupiter Fund Management was weaker as it said total assets were up 3.7% in the fourth quarter.
Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 1,494.00p 19.90%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 316.20p 5.44%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 793.00p 4.34%
Evraz (EVR) 389.80p 3.95%
Hays (HAS) 194.90p 3.51%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 961.20p 2.54%
Cobham (COB) 126.55p 2.43%
Paragon Banking Group (PAG) 515.00p 2.28%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 347.50p 2.18%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 914.00p 2.08%
Card Factory (CARD) 232.80p -17.56%
Greene King (GNK) 525.00p -6.22%
Booker Group (BOK) 224.90p -3.43%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 228.80p -2.97%
WH Smith (SMWH) 2,162.00p -2.96%
Ted Baker (TED) 3,026.00p -2.95%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 790.00p -2.95%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 1,206.00p -2.82%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,195.00p -2.70%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 589.00p -2.64%