Source - SMW
UK markets ended the week firmly on the front foot on Friday, following two days of losses, after positive China data. The world's second largest economy reported its first rise in factory output so far in 2020. 

That boosted mining shares, a sector so significant to the health of the FTSE 100, although oil stocks were fairly muted. Mining groups Anglo American, BHP and Rio Tinto all rallied between 4% and 5%. 

That saw the UK benchmark FTSE 100 gain just over 1%, finishing the trading week at 5,800.33. The midcap FTSE 250 index was also strongly higher, rallying 1.7% to 15,664.35.

Brent oil prices lost earlier strength but remained 1.7% higher at $31.68 per barrel, while gold nudged up to $1,731.6 an ounce. The pound lost ground against the US dollar at $1.2125, and was also weak versus the euro and yen. 

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Royal Mail shares soared nearly 8% to 175.95p after announcing that chief executive Rico Back had stood down with immediate effect, having only taken up the role in June 2018.

Royal Mail said revenue in its UK parcels and letters division had fallen £22m in April, while costs in the division had risen £40m.

Bookmaker William Hill rallied 8% to 115.35p after it secured waivers on its loan conditions, as its revenue sank 27% in the 17 weeks to 28 April thanks to a dearth of live sporting events.

Also strong was IT services firm Computacenter after it said that its sales volumes would be 'considerably ahead' in the first half of 2020. That saw the share price jump nearly 13% to £15.06.

Bus and train company National Express rallied 13% to 206.4p as cost cuts helped it generate positive earnings in the month of April slightly ahead of its expectations, even as its revenue slumped 50%.

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Price comparison site Moneysupermarket.com stayed flat at 315.2p on news that it had poached Just Eat Takeaway head Peter Duffy to be its new chief executive.

Oil services company Petrofac fell 0.7% to 160.65p as it announced further cost cuts, on top of suspending its dividend, to weather a slump in construction activity and tender delays.

Popular retail investment trust Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust rose 3.5% to 698.5p after it lifted its annual dividend 5%, having posted a positive annual performance that beat its benchmark.

Aviation services provider Signature Aviation rose around 2% to 189.5p on the back of an uptick in flying activity in the first half of May, though business was still down substantially due to travel restrictions.

Wind farm investor The Renewables Infrastructure Group remained flat at 126.8p, having pulled out of the Erstrask onshore wind farm development in Sweden following delays in its construction.

SMALLER CAP WRAP

Electronics group DiscoverIE jumped nearly 7% to 460p after saying that its annual earnings were expected to be 'slightly ahead' of its expectations amid a stronger-than-expected showing in China.

Publisher and food court group Time Out rose 2.5% to 41p after it extended an existing £20m loan from Oakley Capital Investments, to provide liquidity during the Covid-19 crisis.

Video game developer Sumo gained more than 4% to 191.5p on news that it had acquired services group Lab42 for $0.6m.

Lab42 was a cross-platform work for hire studio, providing co-development and full game development services. 


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