Source - SMW
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. 


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