FTSE ekes out modest gains as Covid-19 caseload keeps climbing

Mon, 29th Jun 2020

UK stocks eked out relatively modest gains in early trading on Monday as investors weighed signs of economic recovery with a potential resurgence in Covid-19 cases. At 0825, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 13.71 points, or 0.2%, at 6,173.01. Mining company Rio Tinto shed 0.9% to £44.95, even as it reached an agreement with the government of Mongolia on a new source of domestic power for its Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine there. GlaxoSmithKline edged back 0.1% to £16.46 after Japanese regulators approved its application for a treatment for patients with anaemia due to chronic kidney disease. Animal genetics company Genus fell 0.6% to £35.28 on announcing that Iain Ferguson would succeed Bob Lawson as its chairman in November. Ferguson was currently chairman of house builder Crest Nicholson, had held senior executive roles at Unilever and was once chief executive of Tate & Lyle. Energy infrastructure group Calisen advanced 0.6% to 182.75p, having announced that it expected to resume meter reading and other non-essential smart meter installations and field services in July. Respiratory protection equipment supplier Avon Rubber added 0.3% to £30.95 on confirming that it had received an order from the US Department of Defense worth $16.3m. Consumer finance group Morses Club dropped 3.1% to 47.5p as it revealed that some U Holdings customers have had their accounts temporarily frozen in the wake of the collapse of Wirecard. Subprime lender Non-Standard Finance firmed 2.2% to 7.4p on announcing that talks with large shareholders about a potential equity raising had been positive. Listed residential landlord Grainger rose 0.6% to 279.72p after issued a £350m secured bond to boost its finances and further its growth plans. Energy company Energean rallied 6.8% to 473.75p as it agreed to acquire Edison E&P at a revised price of $284m, down from the original sum of $740m, after the latter's Norwegian assets were excluded from the deal. Disease test kit supplier Omega Diagnostics gained 2.9% to 50.6p on announcing that the development of a Covid-19 rapid test had progressed further, now that consortium partner Abingdon Health had reached a design milestone. Recruitment and training group Staffline jumped 14% to 41.5p after it sewed up a refinancing of its debt facilities with new covenant arragements. Staffline pledged not to pay any dividends until July 2022 as part of the refinancing arrangements. Industrial cleaning company React jumped 5.1% to 1.66, having swung to a modest full-year profit, as it benefited from higher demand for decontamination services thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Cell-based therapeutics developer ReNeuron added 4.4% to 142.5p on recording positive long-term data from an ongoing clinical trial of its hRPC stem cell therapy candidate for eye problem retinitis pigmentosa. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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