UK stocks held onto early gains on Monday to close up 0.7% to 5,944 points.

UK and European shares followed US markets higher on comments from the White House that US president Donald Trump continued to improve overnight and is ready to leave hospital and return to work.

At the Conservative party conference Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he envisaged hard choices ahead as he warned about the need to get finances back under control after borrowing spiralled higher from spending to support the economy.

CINEWORLD SHUTS UP SHOP

Shares in Cineworld (CINE) collapsed 35% to 23.5p after the cinema operator confirmed weekend press reports that it would temporarily close all its UK and Irish theatres from this Thursday, as well as closing its US Regal theatres, due to uncertainty over the timing of new film releases.

Last week US studio MGM delayed the release of the latest James Bond film until April next year.

The firm admitted that the closures would impact close to 45,000 employees and that it was assessing ‘several sources of additional liquidity’ with all options being considered.

BIG WIN FOR WEIR

Shares in mining equipment firm Weir Group (WEIR) were among the best performers, up 15% - their biggest one-day gain in more than 20 years - to £14.70 after the company revealed it was in talks to sell its Oil and Gas business to Caterpillar Inc for $405 million in cash as part of its strategy to turn itself into a ‘premium mining technology pure play.’

Net proceeds from the sale, which is expected to complete by the end of this year, will reduce net debt to EBITDA from June’s level of 1.9 times.

Low-cost airline Wizz Air (WIZZ) reported 1.6 million passenger journeys in September compared with over 3.8 million in the same month a year ago as it continues to operate at just 60% of normal capacity.

The firm maintained its record of generating the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger/km with its latest Airbus A320neo liners also creating much less noise pollution than previous generation aircraft. Shares climbed 1.5% to £32.20.

Self-storage firm Big Yellow Group (BYG) announced it had secured a resolution to grant planning permission for a 106,000 sq ft site in Kings Cross with work to begin next January.

Total development costs are estimated at £52 million while annual net operating profits are seen at £4.5 million making the site ‘highly accretive to earnings’. Shares gained 1% to £10.50.

Luxury handbag maker Mulberry (MUL) posted a £9.3 million operating loss for the 12 months to the end of March but said that trading over the last six months had been ahead of its expectations and it expected losses to reduce.

Most of its UK and European stores have re-opened and digital sales have remained strong, leaving the company with net cash, although it scrapped the final dividend due to ‘considerable uncertainty about future performance’. Shares dipped 6.6% to 155p.

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Issue Date: 05 Oct 2020