FTSE surged 2% higher on Monday to 5,932 and oil prices hit a five-week high as countries opening up from lockdown spurred markets higher. Oil and mining shares led the FTSE 100 with Royal Dutch (RDSB) and BP (BP.) around 5% higher.

Overnight data from Japan confirmed the world’s third largest economy slipped into recession in the first quarter, but investors focused on the prospect that restrictions were coming to an end, pushing  the Nikkei 225 up 0.6%. Chinese stocks were also 0.6% higher.

Brent crude prices firmed 1.6% to $30.90 per barrel while gold prices nudged 0.2% higher to $1,760 an ounce.

LARGE-CAP NEWS

Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithkline (GSK) said that its antiviral drug cabotegravir injected every two months was more effective at preventing HIV infection than Gilead’s Truvada pill taken daily. The shares moved 2% higher to £17.79.

Fellow pharma giant AstraZeneca (AZN), now the UK’s largest company by market cap, said its lung cancer drug Enhertu was granted breakthrough therapy designation in the US, giving it an accelerated path to development and regulatory review.

It also announced its COPD drug Bevespi Aerosphere received approval in China as a fixed dose long acting combination therapy. The shares moved 2.5% ahead to trade at £88.7.

Telecommunications giant Vodafone (VOD) said it had signed a supply agreement with smartphone producer OPPO, starting this month.

In the first phase of cooperation, Vodafone would introduce OPPO products across retail channels in Germany, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Turkey and the Netherlands. The shares were 1% higher at 122.4p.

MID- AND SMALL-CAPS

Shares in Pub company Mitchells & Butlers raced 7% ahead to 154p after it secured an extension to a waiver on one of its lending conditions following the forced closure of its cites due to UK lock downs.

The temporary waiver, granted against possible technical default due to enforced closure of the business, has been extended to 8 June.

Gold miner Centamin (CEY) reported a rise in annual profit, led by a jump in gold prices as volatility in investment markets increased safe-haven demand.

For the 12 months ended 31 December, pre-tax profit increased 13% to $173m on revenue 7% higher to US$658.1m. Adjusted free cash flow was 17% ahead at $74.3m. The shares moved 5% higher to 185.5p.

Schroder AsiaPacific (SDP) fund reported that half-year net asset value for the period ended 31 March declined 10.8% compared with a 9.3% fall in the benchmark.

The shares provided a minus 9.4% total return as the discount narrowed to 10.3% from 11.4%.The shares traded 2% higher at 211.5p.

AIM

Shares in specialist orphan drug contract research organisation Open Orphan (ORPH:AIM) shot 10% higher to 14.25p after it said its MosaiQ COVID-19 antibody machine was expected to be fully operational within two-weeks, after which it would have the capability to undertake up to 3,000 test per day.

The statement was made in light of increasing media comment and a rising share price regarding its collaboration with Quotient Limited.

Pharmaceutical services provider Ergomed (ERGO:AIM) said it had entered into collaboration with Automation Anywhere and DataRobot  to advance robotic processes and machine learning for its pharma-covigilance division.

The technology will free-up time for highly trained professionals to focus on value creation and problem solving. The shares were 1% higher at 400p.

A full list of movers can be seen HERE

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Issue Date: 18 May 2020