UK stocks continued their downward slide on Wednesday as the coronovirus spread further in Europe and the Middle East, and a US solider become infected with the disease. At 0827, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 46.99 points, or 0.7%, at 6.970.89. Spirits producer Diageo dropped 1.3% to £29.215 after it warned the coronavirus would wipe between £140m to £200m off its operating profit in the 2020 financial year. Mining company Rio Tinto shed 0.6% to £38.92 as it booked a 41% fall in annual profit and warned that the coronavirus outbreak could have a short-term impact on supply chains. Rio Tinto's income for the year through December fell to $8.01bn, down from $13.6bn on-year, and included writedowns on the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia and Yarwun alumina refinery in Australia. Gambling company William Hill dropped 2.4% to 172.45p, having booked a second consecutive annual loss, after it was hit by a £2 stake limit on fixed-odds betting terminals in the UK. House builder Taylor Wimpey bucked the wider market fall, advancing 2.2% to 214.3p after it reported a 3.1% rise in annual profit. Taylor Wimpey completed 5% more homes, though its underlying performance was hurt by higher building costs. Security services company Serco was also a gainer, rising 1.9% to 153.56p, after it booked an 8.9% rise in annual profit and reinstated its long-suspended dividend. Wagamama and Garfunkels owner Restaurant Group fell 2.8% to 114.16p as it swung to a full-year loss after it wrote down the value of is assets, citing a 'chronic overcapacity' in the casual dining sector and higher labor costs. Travel location convenience store group SSP reversed 3.5% to 576p on warning that the coronavirus outbreak had taken a £5m chunk out of its operating profit in February alone, as footfall plunges at airports across Asia. Engineering group Weir jumped 7.0% to £13.38, even as it posted a deep loss owing to writedowns in its US oil and gas business, though it forecast a better performance at its mining unit. Student accommodation developer Unite dropped 0.9% to 12.60 even as it hiked its dividend by 14% on the back of higher rental income. Logistics company Eddie Stobart Logistics crashed 87% to 9p, having reported a sharp increase in half-yearly losses as revenue growth was offset by asset writedowns. Waste management businesses Augean shed 1.2% to 214.5p as it too booked an annual loss, on the back of legal costs as the company disputed an outstanding UK landfill tax.
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