UK stocks opened substantially lower on Friday after Apple and Amazon provided disappointing earnings updates and budget carrier Ryanair warned of a long-lingering impact from the Covid-19 crisis. At 0821, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 144.27 points, or 2.4%, at 5.756.94. Apple jangled nerves by omitting an earnings forecast for the first time in decades, while Amazon warned of a second-quarter loss. At home, Royal Bank of Scotland gained 2.1% to 112.85p, even as it reported a 59% slump in first-quarter profit owing to borrowers struggling to repay loans amid the Covid-19 crisis. Ryanair dropped 4.7% to 9.83c on announcing that it expected to layoff up to 3,000 workers and was planning to cut aircraft orders. Ryanair said demand may not fully recover from the Covid-19 crisis for at least two years. It also warned a planned restructuring could result in the 'loss of unpaid leave' and involve pay cuts of up to 20%. The gloomy update reverberated throughout the airline sector, with EasyJet falling 5.7% to 568.6p. British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines descended 4.6% to 211.72p, even as Spanish subsidiaries Iberia and Vueling secured syndicated loan agreements for €750m and €260m, respectively. House builder Barrett Developments shed 1.5% to 511.44p, as it warned it would only complete a limited number of homes in the current financial year through June. On the positive side, Barrett said it would carry out a phased return to work on its construction sites from 11 May. Iron deficiency focused Shield Therapeutics dropped 12% after it warned of a fall in revenue due to a disappointing trial result and related refunding of a milestone payment. Gem miner Petra Diamonds gained 1.6% to 2.18p as its operations in South Africa ramped up to 50% employment capacity, in line with government instructions. Alternative fuels developer Quadrise Fuels International slipped 2.0% to 1.5p, despite announcing that fresh cost cuts meant it could keep operating until midway through the second quarter of 2021 with its current funding. Retail space marketer SpaceandPeople jumped 17% to 6.75p on announcing hat it had received £1m in funds, having had an application approved to access the UK government's coronavirus business interruption loan scheme.
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