StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened substantially higher in early trading on Tuesday, following a rally on Asian exchanges, as Chinese factory staff slowly began returning to work even as the coronavirus death toll passed 1,000.

At 0817, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 76.84 points, or 1.0%, at 7.523.72.

Online grocery group Ocado rose 1.1% to £12.30, despite it booking a deeper annual loss, owing to costs associated with warehouse fires and continued investment in its robotic logistics capabilities.

Ocado's revenue rose 9.9% and it forecast sales growth of 10-15% in the current year from its retail operations, while touting operational progress at its robotic 'solutions' business.

JD Sports gained 2.2% to 864.2p as it continued to make its case to acquire Footasylum, after the UK competition watchdog flagged competition concerns that the athleisure retailer described as 'fundamentally flawed.'

Travel company TUI jumped 9.4% to 936.2p, despite reporting a first-quarter loss owing largely to the grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft.

Investors may have been heartened by TUI's claim that winter bookings had improved, enough for it to bump up its annual sales expectations.

Clothing and food retailer Marks and Spencer rose 0.9% to 183.95p, on announcing that it had poached convenience foods producer Greencore's finance head Eoin Tonge as its new chief financial officer.

Greencore shed 0.2% to 238.8p.

Gambling company William Hill rose 4.8% to 186.95p, having forged a deal to become the official sports book and wagering data provider for US broadcaster CBS Sports.

Motor services group AA advanced 6.0% to 47.82p as it revealed a turnaround plan remained on track amid a stronger performance from its roadside assistance business.

UK meat producer Cranswick fattened 0.7% to £36.7194 after it acquired the Buckle family's pig farming and rearing operations, for an undisclosed sum.

Struggling recruitment tiddler Nakama plunged 47% to 0.45p, on revealing that the coronavirus outbreak had hurt its business in Hong Kong and Singapore, while reiterating that it urgently needed an injection of capital.

Luxury furniture retailer Walker Greenbank added 4.2% to 74p, even as it forecast an expected 2% fall in annual sales.

Serinus Energy gained 1.0% to 10.35p as a new well in Romania flowed natural gas following the completion of testing work.

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