UK stocks held on to early gains at midday on Tuesday driven by news that many countries around the world, including Britain, continued to ease Covid-19 lockdown measures. At 12:00, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 1.2%, at 6,065.25, with the market having been closed on Monday for a bank holiday. Luxury car maker Aston Martin Lagoda raced 33% ahead to 47.2p, after confirming reports over the weekend that chief executive Andy Palmer had stood down and been replaced by Mercedes Benz executive Tobias Moers. Security services company Westminster gained 16.5% to 10.4p after its technology division won a $665k contract from an investment management company. Budget airline EasyJet ascended 14.5% to 638p, even as it announced that its CFO, Andrew Findlay, was poised to stand down. Findaly, however, wouldn't depart for another year, in adherence with his contractual obligations. Bus and train operator Stagecoach jumped 14% to 67.8p as it welcomed a move by the UK government to restart bus, tram and light rail services in England. The UK's Department for Transport announced that it was offering £254m of further funding for buses and £29m for trams and light rail to help increase the frequency and capacity of services as lockdowns ease. Auto dealer Marshall Motor firmed 6.3% to 110p, after confirming it would reopen its UK showrooms next week, in line with government rules. Traffic analytics group Tracsis advanced 5.3% to 600p as it won two major rail contracts. In a busy day for executive appointments, packaging company Mondi said it had poached Mike Powell, the finance head of plumbing group Ferguson, to be its new chief financial officer. Mondi added 3.8% to £14.59 and Ferguson gained 3.3% to £64.2. Defence contractor Ultra Electronics rose 1.6% to £19.9 after its joint venture with Sparton DLS won subcontracts worth $204.6m for the manufacture of sonobuoys for the US Navy. Advertising company S4 Capital edged up 0.9% to 247.3p as it acquired Latin American data and analytics consultancy Digodat, for an undisclosed sum. IT services provider Kainos slipped 1.2% to 875p on announcing that it would not declare a final dividend, despite reporting a 10% rise in annual profit underpinned by an uptick in sales. Respiratory drug developer Synairgen dropped 1.8% to 50.1p, after posting a full-year loss owing to R&D spending, as it continued to progress an investigation into a potential Covid-19 treatment. Membrane technology developer Modern Water sank 2.7% to 2p on winning an equipment order worth CNY3.56m (around £410k) from Sichuan province in China. UK software provider Softcat fell 3.6% to £12.1 on announcing that it had traded 'satisfactorily' during its third quarter through April, having grown revenue, gross profit and operating profit.
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