UK stocks jumped in afternoon trading on Friday after it emerged that coronavirus cases across the country are falling at the fastest pace in months.

The UK’s R value has dropped below 1 for the first time since July, and the Government has confirmed it will issue its roadmap out of lockdown on 22 February.

The UK’s benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 0.94% to 6,589.79, while the midcap FTSE 250 index swung into positive territory having spent most of the day in the red and closed 0.09% higher to 21,037.47.

CORPORATE NEWS

In a day of little significant corporate news, airline and package holiday provider Jet2 (JET2) fell 7.24% to £12.04 after it raised £422 million by issuing new shares at a 9% discount to last night’s closing price to help see it through the crisis. The company said the fundraise was ‘significantly oversubscribed’.

Ascential (ASCL) nudged up 0.44% to 368.8p as the information and analytics company said it had sold its DeHavilland brand for £15 million to Bridgepoint. The sale concluded the disposal of Ascential's built environment and policy segment businesses.

Apax Global Alpha (APAX) gained 0.49% to 204p after announcing the acquisition of a majority stake in Herjavec Group, a managed security services provider and cyber operations company.

The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) dipped 1.56% to 126.6p on the news that it had acquired Gronhult, a 67.2 MW ready-to-build onshore wind farm located in the southwest of Sweden. The project is expected to become operational in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Vivo Energy (VVO) climbed 5.75% to 82.7p after the African-focused fuel retailer said it expected full-year adjusted EBITDA to be at the top end of market expectations after the ongoing recovery in its retail segment led to positive trading in the fourth quarter.

Victrex (VCT) increased 1.06% to £22.94 as the plastics manufacturer announced its first quarter 2021 was ‘slightly ahead’ of expectations after seeing improvements in some of its end markets including electronics.

Recently-listed insolvency and business advisory group FRP (FRP:AIM) jumped 4.48% to 105p after the firm posted a positive trading update for the nine months to the end of January and raised its forecasts for the full year to April, its first as a quoted company.

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Issue Date: 12 Feb 2021