UK stocks made strong gains on Monday as more countries continued to take tentative steps to emerge from coronavirus lockdowns. A surge in oil prices also helped, along with data which showed that new virus cases are slowing across Europe. At 1155, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 128.99 points, or 2.22%, at 5,928.76. LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Budget airline Ryanair jumped 9.1% to €9.22 after 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. Its results also dragged other airlines higher. British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines rose 6.5% to 180p, while EasyJet gained 7.8% to 538p and Wizz Air moved 7.2% higher to £27.92. Telecommunications giant Vodafone rose 0.6% to 121.7p having signed a supply agreement with smartphone producer OPPO that it said would accelerate 5G adoption across international markets. Pharma giant AstraZeneca climbed 1.25% to £87.79 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. Fellow pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline gained 1.37% to £16.70 after it said that its antiviral drug cabotegravir injected every two months was more effective at preventing HIV infection than Gilead Science's Truvada pill taken daily. Gold miner Centamin gained 5.4% to 186p 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 4.25% to 147.3p as it appointed operations head James North as acting chief executive. Pub company Mitchells & Butlers rallied 7.65% to 155p 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. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Pharmaceutical services company Open Orphan rallied 11% to 14.4p 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 0.96% to 104.5p on announcing that it still planned to pay a final dividend 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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