FTSE opens higher as cases hit 1.5m; Redrow soars on Covid-19 financing deal

Thu, 9th Apr 2020

The FTSE 100 has opened higher as the number of Covid-19 cases worldwide reached 1.5m and the UK is expected to extend its lockdown period. The UK Government is set to borrow billions of pounds from a Bank of England facility to help support businesses through the Covid-19 crisis. At 08.36am the FTSE 100 was trading up 2.2%, or 126.08 points, to sit at 5,803.81. Drinks maker Diageo climbed 2.9% higher to £25.95 after it pulled its guidance and said it would halt its share buyback programme. It said that government measures worldwide to contain the virus had impacted performance across its markets in the U.S., Europe, India and Africa. Housebuilder Redrow surged 10.7% to 446.68p on the news that it has secured a £300m Covid Corporate Financing Facility having been confirmed as an eligible issuer. It comes as the company reported that 80% of its workforce had been furloughed, while the board and senior directors, as well as the wider directorate, have taken a voluntary 20% pay cut. Oil company Enquest was up 19.8% to 13.28p after it reported a pre-tax loss of $729.1m, compared with a profit of $94.0m on-year for 2019, while revenue rose to $1,711.8m from $1,201.0m. It said that year-to-date production performance remained good with the group's day-to-day operations continuing without being materially affected by Covid-19. Asset manager Polar Capital has been boosted 4.2% to 416.97p as it announced that recent equity market volatility has hit assets under management, which fell 12% over the year to £12.2bn at the end of March 2020. Smith & Nephew has been buoyed 1.8% to £15.29 as it confirmed the appointment of a new chief financial officer to replace outgoing Graham Baker. Anne-Francoise Nesmes will join the company as chief financial officer by 3 August 2020, from Merlin Entertainments. Packaging company Mondi nudged 1.1% higher to £13.62 having scrapped its final dividend for the year ended 31 December 2019 on Covid-19 uncertainty. It warned that the potential impacts of Covid-19 remained 'very unclear and the pace of change means any effect on operations and the group's financial performance for the year are difficult to predict'. Cloud services provider Essensys was 0.3% higher at 158.00p after it reported that for the half year ended 31 January 2020, pre-tax losses narrowed to £0.1m from £0.4m on-year, while revenue rose 19% to £11.4m. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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