- UK stocks surged on Friday following relief among investors as the World Health Organisation held fire on declaring coronavirus a global emergency.

In addition, PMI data came in above expectations as the economy returned to growth, reducing the chances of an interest rate cut from the Bank of England.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index closed 78.31 points, or 1.04%, higher to 7,585.98.


China's decision to lock down entire cities in a bid to contain the deadly virus had previously been weighing on market sentiment.

In local corporate news, food deliver platform Just Eat slipped 1.7% to 865p after UK antitrust regulators announced a last-minute probe into its acquisition by Holland's

Pub and brewing company Marston's slumped 5.3% to 111p as it reported lacklustre sales growth and warned of higher employment costs.

Mortgage lender Virgin Money rallied 4.2% to 173.5p, having announced that chairman Jim Pettigrew was planning to retire by September 2021.

Medical technology company Smith and Nephew gained 2.66% to £19.30 as it acquired US-based ear tube group Tusker Medical, for an undisclosed sum.


Geoscience products and services specialist Getech slumped 11.7% 22.5p on a 2019 profit warning caused by delays to several major deals amid volatile conditions in the oil and gas exploration industry.

Management advisory group Norman Broadbent jumped 19.4% to 9.4p, having forecast a return to profit in 2019, thanks to an improved performance in the second half that saw revenue rise by more than a fifth.

Online property portal OnTheMarket advanced surged 11.9% to 80p on signing a listing agreement with house builder Bellway.

EasyHotel fell 8.6% to 80p, even as it swung to an annual loss as the budget hotel chain wrote down the value of a property in Ipswich.

EasyHotel's adjusted earnings, however, jumped 42% on the back of a 56% rise in revenue.

SQN Asset Finance Income Fund firmed 0.5% to 62.8p after it flagged a strategic review of its operations 'in light of recent events'.

The company recently delayed the publication of its net asset value while it reviewed the value of its investment in Anaerobic Digestion and warned of potential impairments.

Inland Homes dropped 1.9% to 89.25p as it signed a contract with Octavia Housing, a provider of affordable housing, to develop Afrex House, in Alperton, north-west London.

Intellectual property investor Tekcapital rose 3.9% to 6.36p after portfolio company and low-sodium salt group Salarius secured a US supply agreement with food ingredient broker Hanks Brokerage.

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