London’s FTSE 100 traded slightly lower on Wednesday, down 0.03% at 6,187.94 early on, as climbing COVID-19 cases in countries including the US and Australia cooled optimism that the global economy is turning a corner.

Bus and rail company FirstGroup (FGP) fell 10.6% to 44p after reporting wider annual losses owing, in part, to write-downs at its Greyhound coach division and restructuring costs.

Investors were also unnerved as FirstGroup warned of ‘material uncertainties’ ahead. These include the rate at which fiscal support tapers, the duration of social distancing rules, as well as the timing of North American schools reopening. The transport play also said it isn’t currently possible to provide guidance for the year to March 2021.

Online fast fashion retailer Boohoo (BOO:AIM) cheapened 8.8% to 238.4p on the news it is launching an immediate independent review of its UK supply chain, led by a senior lawyer, and will invest ‘an incremental £10 million to eradicate supply chain malpractice’, following damaging media reports over dire factory working conditions that have clobbered the shares.

Logistics company Wincanton (WIN) rose 2.5% to 185.5p after securing a two year contract extension with supermarket customer Asda. CEO James Wroath welcomed the extension as ‘a reflection of our strong collaborative relationship with Asda. As we face new challenges ahead, I’m certain Wincanton will add expertise and value to this long-standing partnership.’

Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) improved 10p to £14.20 after CEO John Ions highlighted a very strong start to the new financial year with a record quarter of positive net flows of £971 million.

Products and consultancy services provider First Derivatives (FDP:AIM) firmed 15p to £25.45 on the news revenue was 6% higher for the four months to June, despite the impact of the pandemic on its operations.

Plastics manufacturer Victrex (VCT) dropped 3.25% to £19.22 as third quarter revenue slumped 18% and margins were squeezed, partly owing to a deferred elective procedures hurting its medical division.

Packaging company MPAC (MPAC:AIM) jumped 9.6% to 267.5p on announcing that its order book going into the second half of 2020 remained strong, with no orders cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety and compliance specialist Marlowe (MRL:AIM) gained 0.6% to 529.88p even as it posted a fall in annual profit owing to acquisition expenses and losses on its sale of its air-quality activities.

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Issue Date: 08 Jul 2020