London’s FTSE 100 eased 54 points or 0.86% to 6,238.77 early on Thursday as a return to growth for China failed to excite the markets as much as yesterday’s vaccine updates.

The UK market was also weighed down as the latest figures showed that the number of people on UK payrolls fell by 469,000 between March and June this year.

Energy utility SSE (SSE) edged 15.75p higher to £13.79 despite news that output of electricity from renewable sources in the quarter to June was below target due to weather conditions, as investors focused on the successful issuance of over £1 billion in hybrid bonds.

Anglo American (AAL) cheapened 1.75% to £19.19 after the mining giant reported a steeper decline in diamond and precious metals output amid lockdowns in southern Africa, but said copper output increased. The company also lowered its coal output guidance amid COVID-19 related disruption.

Credit checking giant Experian (EXPN) softened 0.35% to £28.35 as the company announced a smaller than feared fall in first quarter organic revenue, with a strong performance in its North American business offsetting a hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

‘There continues to be a range of outcomes and a level of uncertainty around the extent or re-imposition of lockdowns, government action to support economies and the shape of economic recovery,’ cautioned the information services company, which provided no guidance for the year to March 2021 accordingly.

Sports betting company GVC (GVC) shed 5.2% to trade at 866p on the news revenue fell by 11% in the first half of the year, a weaker performance in retail offsetting a strong online performance. There was also disappointment on the news chief executive Kenneth Alexander, seen as the brains behind GVC’s rapid ascent, is retiring with chief operating officer Shay Segev about to hop into the hot seat.

Recruitment company Hays (HAS) fell 3.2% to 122.5p after fourth quarter fee income plunged more than a third and the staffer warned it expects to generate a loss over the summer months.

Building products play Marshalls (MSLH) firmed 2.5p to 622.5p, despite news of a 25% drop in revenue for the six months to June, as the company explained that recent trading has been better than expected.

Remote meetings company LoopUp (LOOP:AIM) leapt 10.7% higher to 181.5p on news it expects its annual performance to top market expectations having seen a sharp increase in earnings as bumper demand for remote working bolstered first-half revenue.

Morses Club (MCL:AIM) was marked up 5.75% to 55.2p as the home collect credit lender reported a fall in cash collections in the first four months of the financial year, but added it has seen improved collection rates in recent weeks as it continued to reduce the decline in credit issued.

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Issue Date: 16 Jul 2020