UK stocks opened lower on Friday following news that US President Trump and the first lady had tested positive for coronavirus, sharpening the focus on the administration’s handling of the pandemic.

The dollar slid against global currencies, Nasdaq futures tumbled 2%, oil prices fell further below the $40 level and gold spiked to over $1,900 per ounce.

At 8.30am the FTSE 100 index of leading stocks was down 40 points or 0.7% to 5,839, led lower by energy, industrial and consumer stocks.

Airline firm International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) was the best gainer in the FTSE, up 1% to 94.8p after announcing 100% take-up of new shares in its recent rights issue.

In contrast, aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce (RR.) was the biggest loser for the second day, down another 6.4% to 109p after announcing its own rights issue earlier in the week.

Outside of the FTSE, immunotherapy developer Scancell (SCLP) announced it was collaborating on the manufacture of a Covid-19 DNA vaccine for use in a Phase 1 clinical trial next year. Shares climbed 12% to 18.75p.

The firm said its new vaccine ‘has the potential to provide long lasting immunity against COVID-19 by generating protection not only against this strain, but also against new strains of coronavirus that may arise in the future.’

Shares in third-party logistics firm Wincanton (WIN) gained 5% to 223p after it reported that trading in the six months to September had been ‘resilient’ thanks to increased demand for online retail and new business wins.

Notable new contracts include a dark store and online home delivery service for Waitrose, additional transport services for Wm Morrison (MRW), a renewed contract for ‘all Asda operations’ and a ‘significant PPE storage solution’ to support the NHS. Shares blah blah

Asset management firm Liontrust (LIO) revealed that it had agreed to sell its Asia Income investment team to emerging market specialist manager Somerset Capital.

The Asia Income team’s assets under management and advice (AUMA) were £82 million at the end of September compared with Liontrust’s total AUMA of over £25 billion.

The firm also announced the closure of its £111 million European Income and £84 million Macro Thematic funds. Shares dipped 0.6% to £13.12.

Real estate investment trust Regional REIT (RGL) announced that it had sold a large industrial, warehouse and office park in Basildon for £32.7 million, almost 60% more than the 2016 acquisition price including subsequent capital expenditure.

Stephen Inglis, chief executive of London & Scottish Property Investment Management, which manages the trust’s assets, commented: ‘The disposal delivered a significant uplift of 59.4% in value, the result of clearly improving the quality of the asset's income streams leading to a substantial uplift in capital value.’ Shares were flat at 65.5p despite the good news.

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Issue Date: 02 Oct 2020