London’s FTSE 100 made substantial gains in early trading on Tuesday, bid up 165.73 points or 2.97% to 5,748.12 amid continued hopes that the spread of coronavirus may be levelling out in major hotspots in Europe and the US.

Embattled Cineworld (CINE) rallied 17.3% to 46.45p after the cinema operator suspended dividends in a bid to strengthen liquidity, having shuttered all its cinemas following government-imposed lockdowns.

Among the major casualties of the coronavirus, there was relief as Cineworld insisted it is having discussions with landlords, film studios and major suppliers, is curtailing all unnecessary capital expenditure and is also in talks with lenders to beef up its credit lines.

Home repairs and improvements business Homeserve (HSV) rose 6.3% to £11.16 on news it now expects to top annual profit expectations thanks to ‘strong’ growth in its membership business. Adjusted pre-tax profit for the year to March is expected to rise 12% to £181m, ahead of consensus expectations of £179.4m.

Housebuilder Vistry (VTY) advanced 11.4% to 667.5p after its partnerships division exchanged contracts with Homes England on a portfolio of six developments that would provide more than 570 new homes across the country.

Flexible office space provider Workspace (WKP) weakened 4.5p to 675p after it said it would consider later in the year whether to pay a final dividend amid a drop off in business due to government COVID-19 lockdowns. Workspace did however assure that its trading profit for the year to March 2020 was expected to be in line with market expectations.

Elsewhere, iron ore miner Ferrexpo (FXPO) firmed 5.1% to 127.7p after it said it expected first quarter sales to rise this year following a 7% climb in pellet output.

‘Production in the first quarter 2020 was not impacted by the Covid-19 virus,’ insisted Ferrexpo, which ‘continues to take active measures to help protect our workforce and local communities against the spread of the virus.’

Food packaging play Hilton Food (HFG) fattened up 5.3% to £10.38 on the delivery of forecast-beating full year results and news of its entry into the Belgian market through a red meat packing agreement with Delhaize.

Ingredients and flavouring supplier Treatt (TET) sweetened up 11.4% to 468p, having experienced strong demand in recent weeks as customers meet requests for beverages consumed at home and cleaning products amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online contracts for difference broker Plus500 (PLUS) rallied 5.6% to £11.71, having recorded a big jump in first quarter revenue as intense market volatility encouraged more trading activity.

Recruiter Hydrogen (HYDG:AIM) reversed 10% to 31.5p after it suspended forecasts and cancelled the final dividend following a challenging fourth quarter driven by COVID-19-related uncertainty.

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Issue Date: 07 Apr 2020