StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened substantially lower on Tuesday as the spread of a deadly virus in China spooked global investors.

At 0845, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 80.08 points, or 1.1%, at 7.571.36.

Chinese authorities confirmed that a fourth person had died from the coronavirus virus -- and that it could be spread from person-to-person.

In corporate news, mining titan BHP fell 1.4% to £18.156 as it reported flat first-half production, with rising iron ore and copper output offset by falling oil and gas production.

Energy giant BP dropped 0.8% to 489.6p after announcing that chief financial officer Brian Gilvary would retire at the end of June and be replaced by Murray Auchincloss, currently CFO of BP's upstream segment.

Budget airline Easyjet was having a better morning, ascending 4.4% to £15.1432 after it upgraded its revenue outlook, citing robust passenger demand and lower competition.

Telecom company TalkTalk was flat at 114.4p as it announced the sale of its broadband business to CityFibre Infrastructure for £200m.

Dixons Carphone firmed 5.0% to 149.55p, even as it reported flat like-for-like revenue growth over the key Christmas period.

Strength in the company's electrical business had compensated for a continuing decline in mobile phones.

Broking house IG reversed 0.2% to 684.54p as its profit fell 10% in the first half, after revenue was impacted by regulatory changes and it incurred higher expenses.

IG also announced the departure of chief financial officer Paul Mainwaring.

Travel-location convenience store group SSP firmed 2.4% to 680p after its first-quarter revenue rose 6.3% and it stuck to its full-year profit guidance.

Housing-sector support provider Mears rallied 6.9% to 310p on guiding for a 16% rise in underlying annual revenue, driven by its acquisition of MPS.

Mears also said it was at 'an advanced stage' in a planned sale and exit from its domiciliary care operations.

Compliance and energy services company Sureserve jumped 7.1% to 46.6p after it more than doubled its annual profit.

Advanced materials group Velocity Composites added 2.1% to 42.36p on receiving approval from Boeing to supply structural composite material kits for the aircraft manufacturer's single-isle, narrow-body jet platform.

Clinical AI technology group Sensyne Health fell 4.1% to 47p as it posted a first-half loss, owing to a rise in R&D and administrative costs. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com