UK stocks made up some lost ground on Wednesday after rare good corporate news amid the coronavirus storm. Despite the oil price plunging for a second day amid a gloomy outlook for the commodity, UK stocks held firm as the lockdown and social distancing measures currently in place led inflation to fall to 1.5%. At 1230, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 79.8 points, or 1.41%, to 5,720.83. LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Copper producer Antofagasta gained 3.7% to 757.8p as it said it expects production to be at the lower end of the range between 725-to-755 thousand tonnes due to the implementation of social distances measures. The company highlighted a strong balance sheet with $2.5bn of cash putting it in a 'strong position' to confront operational uncertainty. Building materials company CRH jumped 7.17% to £23.02 after seeing a positive start to the year with first-quarter like-for-like sales up 3%. The firm has suspended all non-essential expenditures and reduced working capital in-line with lower activity levels. Energy group Drax increased 8.7% 214.5p after it reported trading in-line with expectations for the first-quarter to 31 March, including a $60m estimated impact from coronavirus, from lower power demand and bad debt risks. The firm confirmed the 2019 dividend payment of 9.5p per share. Online retailer Boohoo rose 5.75% to 287.4p after bumper sales underpinned a 54% rise in its annual profit. Boohoo said its outlook remained cautious, though added that its performance had improved in recent weeks following a slump that had started in the middle of March. Drink mixer retailer Fevertree soared 13.6% to £15.50 after it pledged to pay a final dividend for 2019, while touting its £128.3m of cash holdings. Fevertree's confidence in its balance sheet came even as it reported a relatively modest fall in annual profit, owing to lower sales in the UK offsetting growth in the US. Insurance company Hiscox added 0.95% to 105p, even as it estimated up to $150m of claims related to Covid-19 lockdowns, should restrictions on travel and mass gatherings stay in place for six months from the end of March. Hiscox also noted that it had a substantial catastrophe reinsurance programme and robust capital, liquidity and funding positions. Student accommodation developer Unite added 4% to 801.5p on guiding for its income for the 2019-2020 academic year to fall by a lower-than-expected 16-20%. United had offered students the option to leave their lodgings in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. Wind farm investor The Renewable Infrastructure Group shed 0.64% to 124p despite it reaffirming its dividend guidance for the year. The company, however, also cut its power price forecasts due to the Covid-19 crisis. Polling and data company YouGov rallied 11.4% to 657p, having reported a 13% rise in first-half profit, buoyed by further growth in the US market. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Suit retailer Moss Bros plunged 23.7% to 15.6p after Brigadier Acquisition moved let its £22.6m bid for the company lapse. Belegured fashion house Ted Baker reversed 2.7% to 137.5p, even as it announced that it had appointed EasyJet chairman John Barton to head its board. Barton would remain chairman of EasyJet. Marketing services group XLMedia sank 12.15% to 21.61p on swinging to a full-year loss after it wrotedown the value of its assets following the demotion of its casino websites by Google.
Sign up to our
Subscribe to the latest investing news by entering your email address below
You can opt out at any time.
For five days a week you will get
- The latest company news
- Insight into investment trends
- Round-up of director's buys and sells
- Articles from Shares magazine
Plus more useful investment content and occasional promotional offers.
UK 350 Risers and Fallers
Tweets not available.