The FTSE 100 index closed down 1.3% on Thursday at 5,825 points amid growing concerns of a further Covid-19 lockdown.

There was some disappointment that the UK chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new job support strategy is less generous than the existing furlough scheme.

Veterinary services firm Pets At Home (PETS) gained 27% to 388p after it revealed that earnings for the full year would beat expectations due to strong second-half trading.

Roadside assistance group the AA (AA.) perked up 6% to 30p after the company updated on takeover activity following news that two interested parties had walked away. The company said it was now talking to a consortium backed by TowerBrook Capital Partners and Warburg Pincus.

Agriculture and engineering group Carr's (CARR) announced that Hugh Pelham will succeed Tim Davies as chief executive officer, giving the shares a 4.4% lift to 103p.

United Utilities (UU.) said the lockdown resulted in lower water consumption by businesses, clipping revenues by 5% and likely leading to a fall in underlying operating profits when it declares its results on 25 November. Despite this, the company's share price held firm, gaining 0.6% to 856p.

Military equipment maker Avon Rubber (AVON) confirmed it won a sole-source contract worth up to $93 million to develop and supply the US Army with its integrated head protection system. The shares dipped 1% to £41.7.

Sofa seller DFS Furniture (DFS) said the current financial year had started very strongly and barring further lockdowns it expected to report a strong first-half sales and profit performance. The shares sagged 4.4% to 161p.

Smiths Group (SMIN) said that government measures to control the spread of the novel coronavirus had hit its profitability, with additional resources deployed so it could maintain uninterrupted service levels during lockdown. Its share price traded 7.2% lower at £13.3.

Leisure group Cineworld (CINE) noted that performance had improved since the reopening of its cinemas but warned that it was likely to breach its debt agreements.

It also noted that further government shutdowns could delay movie releases while its ‘severe but plausible’ scenario would require further funding, sending the shares 14% lower to 41.5p.

After rising 18% in early trading in response to the unveiling of a Covid-19 personalised, real-time breath test, shares in skin analytics company Integumen (SKIN:AIM) finished the day down 26% to 39.5p.

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

Issue Date: 24 Sep 2020