FTSE opens 0.5% higher as China cuts rates to combat virus fallout

Mon, 17th Feb 2020

UK stocks opened higher on Monday after China moved to buffer its economy from the coronavirus hit by cutting interest rates on medium-term loans. At 0828, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 35.66 points, or 0.5%, at 7.444.79. Asset manager Jupiter Fund Management rallied 8.1% to 428.8p on confirming press speculation that it was in 'advanced' talks to acquire rival Merian, for at least £370m in shares. Broking group Share, which owns The Share Centre, jumped 15% to 33.48p as it agreed to be acquired by the holding company of Interactive Investor, in a cash and shares deal worth around £61.9m. Tullow Oil shed 4.0% to 43.43p after an exploration well off the coast of Peru, in which it had a 35% non-operating stake, failed to discover significant hydrocarbons. Cairn Energy went in the other direction, rising 2.6% to 183.2p, after it and Italian partner Eni had better luck with the drill bit off the coast of Mexico. Gulf region focused hospital owner NMC Health reversed 2.7% to 754.16p, having announced the departure of three more directors, including its chairman and its chief investment officer. The exodus came after NMC Health recently admitted that it wasn't sure how many shares in the company its chairman and some other of its directors actually owned. Gambling company William Hill added 0.8% to 182.2p on news that it had appointed DS Smith finance head Adrian Marsh as its new chief financial officer. DS Smith fell 1.6% to 359.91p. House builder Persimmon gained 0.7% to £32.53, having appointed Bank of England chief operating officer Joanna Place as a new independent non-executive director. Petra Diamonds dropped 9.3% to 7.59p after it booked a first-half loss, warned of a slower start to the year and said it was negotiating debt covenant waivers with its lenders. The company also said the coronavirus outbreak was having a negative impact on the diamond market, forcing it to downgrade its medium-term cashflow forecasts. Platinum group metals producer Sylvania Platinum firmed 2.4% to 50.16p as it posted a rise in first-half profit on the back of higher production, but also announced the departure of its chief executive. Complex cable supplier Volex gained 5.8% to 156.52p on announcing that all four of its sites in China had resumed operations, though at reduced capacity. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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