UK stocks opened more than 1% higher on Friday on the back of mounting optimism that easing lockdowns, combined with ongoing government stimulus, were getting coronavirus-hit economies back on track. At 0828, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 71.91 points, or 1.1%, at 6,413.35. House builder Taylor Wimpey gained 4.0% to 165.07p on announcing that it had restarted construction on the majority of its sites in England and Wales, with Scottish sites preparing for a return of activity. Taylor Wimpey's sales rates were gradually improving, while the company's order book had swelled to £2.78bn at the end of May, up from £2.52bn on-year. Shared office space group Workspace rose 2.2% to 807p after it hiked its annual dividend by 10%, supported by a boost in rental income that underpinned a rise in adjusted profit. Workspace said it had experienced a significant slowdown in enquiries from the end of March, with 75% of customers receiving a 50% rent reduction offer until the end of June. Oil and gas play Premier Oil rallied 8.3% to 34.45p, having agreed a discounted price of $210m for its planned acquisition of the Andrew and Shearwater assets in the North Sea from BP. Premier Oil also reached a settlement agreement with largest creditor ARCM, which would see ARCM issued about 82.2m shares, representing an 8.9% stake in the company, at 26.69p per share. Waste management company Biffa slipped 4.8% to 250p as it cancelled its final dividend despite its profit more than doubling. Composites manufacturer Morgan Advanced Materials jumped 7.2% to 252p, even as its year-to-date sales dropped 8.8% on an organic and constant currency basis. Morgan Advanced Materials also said cost cutting measures would save £20m per annum by 2022 but come with an upfront cost of £30m. It didn't specify if the measures included job cuts. Cocktail bar group Revolution Bars tumbled 26% to 25.45p as it launched an up to £15m equity raising, at 20p per share, to cut debt and help it weather the Covid-19 crisis. Concrete-leveling technology group Somero Enterprises dropped 3.3% to 204.1p, having furloughed about a fifth of its workforce, while warning it would miss its revenue expectations due to the pandemic. Engineering services company Wood Group climbed 3.2% to 229.4p after announcing that it was targeting a 40% reduction in its carbon emissions by 2030. Specialist engineer Renishaw added 0.7% to £41.32, despite deciding not pay a final dividend for its current financial year through June. Ventilation products supplier Volution advanced 7.4% to 177.8p on announcing that its performance in the UK had improved, with activity at 65% of prior-year levels in June, up from 30% in April. Tech group WANdisco gained 4.9% to 818p, having won a contract with a US airline group that it didn't name.
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