UK stock markets rallied on Monday morning as retailers began reopening stores following a an extended coronavirus lockdown, with Primark planning to fling open the doors to stores in England on 15 June.
That saw shares in Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) jump 6.5% to £19.385, near the top of the FTSE 100 leader board, sharing space with various airline related stocks, such as engine maker Rolls-Royce (RR.) and BA owner International Airlines Group (IAG), which made similar gains.
The benchmark FTSE 100 jumped nearly 1.5% to 6,167.47, while the more domestically focused FTSE mid cap was also up firmly. It added 1.5% of its own to 17,290.05, building on a strong two-month rally that has been powered by hopes that the UK economy would rebound from a looming coronavirus-fuelled global recession.
Also up was AstraZeneca (AZN) after blockbuster cancer treatment got a positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency as a maintenance treatment for a form of pancreatic cancer.
That saw shares in the drug maker rise 0.8% to £86.48.
Household cleaning products firm Reckitt Benckier (RB.) was the biggest FTSE 100 loser, its shares shedding 1.5% £71.16.
BLEAK FASHION FIGURES
Fashion chain Ted Baker (TED) was also a big loser, slumping 17% 127.8p after it said it would raise £95m through a stock issue to help it ride out the coronavirus crisis, after reporting losses of £79.9m for the year to 31 January.
London West End property investor Shaftesbury (SHB) fell 1% to 620.5p, even as Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) agreed to buy a 26.3% stake in the company from Hong Kong billionaire Samuel Tak Lee for £436m.
Shaftesbury said legal action brought by Lee against the company related to a previous equity raising had been withdrawn.
Construction company Balfour Beatty (BBY) rose 1.3% to 254p despite cancelling its dividend, having previously placed it under review.
On a more positive note the company said its order book at the end of April was worth £17.4bn, up more than 20% on the year-end position.
German property investor Sirius Real Estate fell 1% to 78.6p as it posted a 23% drop in annual profit, owing to lower gains on the value of its assets and higher finance expenses.
The company's underlying earnings, however, increased on the back of stronger rental income and it lifted its dividend for year to $0.0357c, up from $0.0336 year-on-year, though on a lower payout ratio in the second half.
PROPERTY DEAL FOR TOPPS
Flooring retailer Topps Tiles (TPT) gained 3.3% to 40.6p on announcing that it had agreed the £18.1m sale and leaseback of its head office and central warehouse buildings at Grove Park in Enderby, Leicester to UK Warehouse Properties.
Gambling software company Playtech (PTEC) added 2.2% to 270.6p, having received regulatory approval to provide its casino product in the New Jersey market.
Auto dealer Marshall Motor (MMH) reversed 6.7% to 105p, even as it opened all 117 of its showrooms from Monday under revised Covid-19 operating procedures.
Mineral producer Strategic Minerals (SML) jumped 21% to 0.72p on announcing that it had been awarded around $21.9m in damages and costs by an arbitrator, plus interest.
The damages were won from the main customer of the company's Cobre magnetite operation in Nevada.