UK stocks edged lower in early trade on Tuesday after a stronger pound weighed on exporters, offsetting some positive manufacturing data from China. At 0827, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 7.95 points, or 0.1%, at 5,955.62, as trading resumed following a bank holiday on Monday. Over-50s insurance and travel services provider Saga soared 41% to 19.24p on announcing a £150m equity raising, a large portion of which would include a strategic investment by former chief executive and owner Roger De Haan. De Haan, who would become Saga's chairman, was planning to invest up to £100m in the raising, including £60.6m at 27p per share, representing a 98% premium to the shares' closing price on Friday. The rest of De Haan's contribution would be on the same terms as other shareholders, for which the issue price would be a maximum of 15p per share. Gene and cell therapy group Oxford Biomedica gained 2.7% to 867p as it unveiled an 18-month supply agreement with AstraZeneca for commercial-scale manufacture of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate. AstraZeneca would pay Oxford Biomedica £15m upfront as a capacity reservation fee. Oxford Biomedica said it expected to receive another £35m in revenue plus certain materials costs until the end of 2021. AstraZeneca, meanwhile, climbed 1.1% to £84.28, having separately reported positive clinical trial results for a kidney disease treatment and European regulatory approval for a lung cancer treatment. Homewares retailer Dunelm rallied 6.8% to £15.26, as it notched a bumper rise in sales in July and August, owing to pent up demand following pandemic-led store closures. Dunelm said its sales jumped 59% in July on-year and 24% in August. Music rights investor Hipgnosis Songs Fund firmed 0.8% to 121.5p after it acquired the music catalogue of musician and songwriter Nikki Sixx, best known as the founding member of Motley Crue, for an undisclosed sum. Real estate portal OnTheMarket rose 1.1% to 90.95p on news that it had appointed Jason Tebb as its new chief executive, effective from 14 December. Tebb was previously chief operating officer of property group Ulitmate Holdings and had also once launched estate and letting agency Ivy Gate. Cake retailer Cake Box jumped 9.2% to 190p, having announced that it would pay a 3.2p per share special dividend in lieu of its withdrawn final dividend after sales recovered well as lockdowns eased. Electronics components manufacturer TT Electronics added 4.8% to 185.5p on confirming its involvement in the trial of a non-clinical Covid-19 screening device at Heathrow airport in London. TT Electronics said it had been appointed as an exclusive manufacturing partner for the commercial launch of the device, called Virolens. Musical equipment retailer Gear4music rose 4.3% to 589p after it expressed confidence that its full-year results would 'at least in line' with its recently upgraded expectations.
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