UK markets retreated in early trading on Friday as a surprise dip in Chinese retail sales dashed hopes for a swift post-pandemic recovery. New quarantine rules for British travellers also helped take the shine off a strong week of stock market gains that were powered by bets of more economic stimulus.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was down 0.73% at 6,140.24, with investors also treading water ahead of a weekend meeting between Chinese and US officials to review progress on their Phase 1 trade pact.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 fell similarly, off 0.76% to 17,788.83, led by a 1.5% decline for travel stocks as the UK moved to quarantine travellers from France, the Netherlands, Malta and three other countries due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Banks, energy, and aero-related stocks also pulled back after leading gains all week.


Budget airline EasyJet (EZJ) slumped more than 7% to 566.8p, after the company said it would continue to assess further funding opportunities after raising an extra $266 million from the final leg of a sale and leaseback of aircraft.

Today's new quarantine rules are also working against the whole sector.

Ryanair (RYA) fell 3.4% to €0.117 and British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) slid 3.8% to 196.55p.

Equities investor Murray International Trust (MYI) shed 0.4% to 962.05p, having posted a negative first-half performance that missed its benchmark, though it held its dividend steady.

The trust’s net asset value total return per share for the six months through June was negative 10.7%. It kept its dividend at 12p per share.

Property investor NewRiver REIT (NRR) rose 5.4% to 64.4p on announcing that its rent collection continued to improve, with 80% of second-quarter rent having either been collected or had alternative payment terms agreed.


Fashion retailer Quiz (QUIZ:AIM) rallied 14% to 7.1p after it agreed an extension of its existing banking facilities with HSBC, upping them to £3.5 million, from £1.75 million.

Security services provider Westminster (WSG:AIM) added 1.7% to 9.15p as it swung to a modest first-half profit after the provision of safety and fever-screening systems for Covid-19 helped offset a collapse in the airline sector.

Brazil-focused miner Serabi Gold (SRB:AIM) firmed 6.9% to 96.75p, having booked a higher first-half profit after lower costs and higher gold prices helped offset a fall in production owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lead, zinc and silver developer Europa Metals (EUZ:AIM) jumped 25% to 20.3p after it booked 40% increase in the indicated resource estimate at its Toral project in northwest Spain.

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Issue Date: 14 Aug 2020