UK stocks were in positive territory at lunchtime on Friday as investors held out hope that stimulus measures and vaccines would get the global economy through the Covid-19 crisis, even as cases continued to jump in the US and elsewhere.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was up 0.5% at 6,282.84, while the FTSE 250 was up 0.1% at 17,339.2.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO) rose 1.6% to £49.02, having stuck to its annual iron-ore output guidance after it produced 4% more of the key steel-making ingredient in the second quarter.

Home repairs and improvement business Homeserve (HSV) gained 4% to £13.56 after it said it still expected a ‘solid’ performance for the fiscal year 2021, with demand for services bouncing back as lockdowns ease.

Support services group DCC (DCC) shed 0.5% to £70.29 even as it announced a first-quarter performance ahead of its expectations, although behind the prior year owing to lockdowns in place during April and May.

Component supplier Essentra (ESNT) rose 2.1p to 326.3p after a subsidiary reached a $667k (£530K) settlement with the US Department of Justice over unauthorised transactions linked to North Korea.

Fund manager Ninety One (N91) firmed 1.8% to 223.4p after its assets under management rose 14% in the first quarter as global equity markets staged a comeback from heavy pandemic-related falls in March.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Freight management services provider Xpediator (XPD:AIM) advanced 4.4% to 23.5p on seeing trading volumes return to more normal levels, putting it on track to only marginally miss its original expectations for the first half.

Online educational services group Wey Education (WEY:AIM) leapt 9.1% to 25.3p as it announced that it expected to swing to a better than expected full-year profit amid a 30% jump in sales.

Recruitment company Gattaca (GATC:AIM) rallied 13.8% to 49.5p, even as it forecast net fee income for the year to fall by more than a fifth, despite a better-than-expected performance in the three months through June.

Training solutions group Pennant International (PEN:AIM) jumped 23.6% to 44.5p on announcing that it had won a new contract in the Middle East with an initial order value of £1.5 million.

Oil company Reabold Resources (RBD:AIM) added 1.7% to 0.585p after it hit back at criticism of its prospects by Deltic Energy, for which Reabold Resources has launched a hostile takeover bid.

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 17 Jul 2020