UK stocks opened higher on Friday after retail sales rebounded in May, helping to offset concerns about a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

In early trading the FTSE 100 was up 0.4%, at 6,246.89 following on from a mixed session in the US overnight.

The top riser on the index was housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.) following the completion of its £522 million placing to finance opportunistic land acquisitions.

Retail sales rose 12% in May, beating market expectations for a 6.3% improvement.

Engineering services company Wood Group (WG.) gained 1.1% to 229.19p, even as it said its adjusted earnings had slumped 19% in the first half after the Covid-19 crisis hurt clients in the oil and gas sector.

Wood, however, said the blow had been buffered by resilience in the chemicals and oil-refining sectors.

Mining company Rio Tinto (RIO) fell 0.6% to £44.76 as it launched a review of its heritage management process, having attracted widespread condemnation for blasting an ancient cave site in Australia held sacred by indigenous people.

Chemicals company Synthomer (SYNT) reversed 0.2% to 282.6p after it priced a €520 million bond offering that would help bolster its balance sheet during the Covid-19 crisis.

Building materials group SIG (SHI) added 5% to 35.2p, on launching a £165 million discounted share issue, even as trading recovers as lockdowns ease.

New shares in SIG would be offered at 25p each to investment manager CD&R Sunshine, to raise £60 million. The raising also included a placing and open offer at 30p per share, to raise of £105m.

Industrial equipment supplier HC Slingsby (SLNG:AIM) jumped 17% to 79p as cost control offset a 3% slide in revenue to boost its earnings in the first five months of the year.

Construction and engineering company Costain (COST) shed 0.8% to 76p after it announced that overall activity levels had now stabilised.

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Issue Date: 19 Jun 2020