Source - SMW
UK stocks made strong gains in early trade on Monday as more countries continued to take tentative steps to emerge from Covid-19 lockdowns.

At 0819, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 133.63 points, or 2.3%, at 5.933.40.

Low-cost carrier Ryanair gained 3.9% to 8.78c after as it booked a 13% rise in profit for the financial year just completed through March.

Ryanair said the current financial year would be 'difficult', while again warning of a loss in the first quarter, though it also forecast a smaller loss in the second.

Telecommunications giant Vodafone rose 0.8% to 121.96p, having signed a supply agreement with smartphone producer OPPO that it said would accelerate 5G adoption across international markets.

Pharma giant AstraZeneca climbed 2.1% to £88.56 on announcing that its chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment had been approved in China.

AstraZeneca also said its non-small cell lung cancer treatment had been granted breakthrough therapy designation in the US.

Gold miner Centamin gained 4.8% to 184.89p, having reported a rise in annual profit, led by a jump in gold prices as volatility in investment markets increased safe-haven demand.

Iron ore group Ferrexpo firmed 3.9% to 146.8p as it appointed operations head James North as acting chief executive.

Pub company Mitchells & Butlers rallied 8.4% to 156.12p after it secured an extension to a waiver on one of its lending conditions, following the forced closure of its sites due to UK lockdowns.

Pharmaceutical services company Open Orphan rallied 16% to 15p as it announced progress on an antibody testing venture for Covid-10 with partner Quotient.

Open Orphan said the MosaiQ Covid-19 antibody microarray machine was on site at subsidiary hVivo's laboratory in East London and was undergoing testing.

Energy asset investor SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust added 0.7% to 104.22p on announcing that it still planned to pay a final divided for the year just completed, and expected to declare its next interim dividend during May.

Professional services group Norman Broadbent rose 6.5% to 6.12p, having guided for a returned to profitability in 2019 after its sales rose by more than a fifth.

Norman Broadbent said it had made a 'positive' start to the new financial year and continued to grow fee income, even amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Industrial equipment supplier HC Slingsby jumped 7.7% to 70p as it swung to a full-year profit, but scrapped its dividend amid a slide in sales in the new year due to Covid-19.

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