It may be unlucky for some but for UK investors Friday 13th provided welcome relief after a week of brutal losses which saw $8tn wiped off global markets.

Governments in countries which have been hardest-hit by coronavirus, such as Italy and South Korea, have implemented bans on the short-selling of stocks in order to try to restore order to their respective markets.


Having lost 10.9% or £160bn in value yesterday, its biggest ever one-day points fall and the worst day since the 1987 crash, the FTSE 100 rallied 4% to 5,448 driven by the mining and energy sectors.

Brent crude oil prices stabilised around the $34 level per barrel while gold, which actually fell yesterday such was the indiscriminate nature of the selling, recovered to $1,588 per ounce.

Leading the gainers were miners BHP (BHP), up 15% to £10.78, and Rio Tinto (RIO), up 13% to £33.63. In close pursuit were Anglo American (AAL) up 10% to £13.64, Glencore (GLEN) up 9% to 138p and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) up 9% to £11.95.


With investors still shell-shocked from the sell-off it was a mercifully 'slow news day' for UK stocks.

Holidays and insurance group Saga (SAGA) announced that, following the government’s advice that people aged 70 and over shouldn’t go on cruises, it would suspend cruise operations until 1 May.

The move was likely to cost Saga between £10m and £15m in lost profits over the next six weeks but the firm has £33m of net cash and a £100m credit facility it can fall back on to ease any working capital strains. Shares added 1.5% to 15.2p.

Premier Oil (PMO) moved to reassure investors that despite the collapse in oil prices it was on a firm footing, having hedged around 30% of this year’s production at an average price of $60 per barrel and that it had plenty of liquidity to ride out a phase of lower prices.

The firm had also reviewed its capital spending and based on a $100m reduction and no change in the oil price from current levels it would end the year roughly cash-flow neutral. The news sent the shares up 25% to 15.7p.

In another example of the unexpected knock-on effects of coronavirus, games maker Codemasters (CDM) announced that due to the decision by Universal Pictures to delay the cinema release of ‘Fast & Furious Crossroads’ from May 2020 until April 2021, timing for the launch of its tie-in game was now ‘uncertain’. Shares in Codemasters slipped 2% to 232p.

On a more positive note, drug discovery firm Redx (REDX:AIM) revealed that it had received a takeover approach from Yesod Biosciences at 15p per share and was in discussions with its major shareholders on what to do next. Redx shares rocketed 210% higher to 15.5p.




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Issue Date: 13 Mar 2020