UK stocks opened higher on Wednesday after a vaccine candidate for Covid-19 showed promising results in early trials and after strong trading in the US driven by a good start to the Q2 results season and hopes for more support from the Federal Reserve.

In early trading the FTSE 100 index was up 55.84 points, or 0.9%, at 6,235.59.

Pharmaceutical company Moderna said a proposed vaccine for the disease had sparked an immune responses in all volunteers participating in an early safety trial.

Luxury fashion retailer Burberry (BRBY) fell 4.5% to £14.87 after its sales slumped 48% in the first quarter, or 45% on a like-for-like basis.

Burberry said it expected the pandemic to continue to hurt revenue in the second quarter, with like-for-like sales seen falling 15-20%.

Online fashion retailer ASOS  (ASC:AIM) climbed 1.8% to £34.33 after it forecast its annual profit to be at the top end of market expectations.

Revenue for the 10 months through June rose 16% to £2.61 billion, including a 9% rise in the latter four months of that period.

Electronics retailer Dixons Carphone (DC.) slumped 5.2% to 82p after it posted another annual loss, blaming the cost of closing mobile phone stores and the Covid-19 crisis hurting sales.

Dixons Carphone also forecast more pain ahead as ongoing pressure on the economy from the pandemic continues to sap consumer confidence.

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) firmed 1.6% to £16.29 on announcing that a US Food and Drug Administration advisory committee had backed the use of a cancer therapy.

Precious metals miner Hochschild Mining (HOC) gained 1.6% to 193.3p even as it reported a fall in production in the second quarter, owing to coronavirus-related disruptions.

Water utility Severn Trent (SVT) rose 0.5% to £23.96 after it said it still expected the Covid-19 crisis to have a negative impact on its annual revenue of between £50m and £85m.

Oil company Premier Oil (PMO) dropped 4.3% to 43.38p, having reiterated its recently trimmed annual production guidance after output dropped in the first half as expected.

Premier Oil said discussions with a subset of its creditors regarding a long-term extension to credit maturities were underway, with an aim to agree terms by the end of July.

Retirement home developer McCarthy & Stone (MCS) fell 0.9% to 73.76p as it swung to a deep first-half loss and scrapped its interim dividend.

Homewares manufacturer Portmeirion (PMP:AIM) added 1.3% to 363.68p despite it forecasting a first-half loss after its like-for-like sales slumped 20% owing to the closure of its retail stores during lockdown.

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Issue Date: 15 Jul 2020