London’s FTSE 100 eased 35 points or 0.5% to 6,258 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 from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people on UK payrolls fell by 469,000 between March and June this year.

June's fall of 74,000 jobs was smaller than the figures for April and May and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.9%, but this discounts half a million people who are away from work and receive no pay but believe they still have a job.

Sports betting company GVC (GVC) was the worst performer on the FTSE, losing 4.8% to 870p on the news revenue fell by 11% in the first half of the year, with a weaker performance in retail offsetting a strong online performance.

There was also disappointment at 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 3.6% to 122p after fourth quarter fee income plunged more than a third and the staffer warned it expects to generate a loss over the summer months.

Germany, its biggest market, reported a 33% decline in fees in the second quarter, while fees in the UK & Ireland fell 42%.

Anglo American (AAL) cheapened 0.7% to £19.39 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) traded sideways at £28.45 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.

Energy utility SSE (SSE) edged 1.6% higher to £13.86 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.

Building products play Marshalls (MSLH) firmed 1.7% to 631p, 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 7.3% higher to 176p 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 a star performer, gaining 14% to 59.5p as the home collect credit lender reported a fall in cash collections in the first four months of the financial year, but said it had 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