StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks traded substantially higher by lunchtime on Tuesday, European equities rebounding 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 11.35, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 66.56 points or 0.89% at 7,513.44.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Online grocery group Ocado ripened up 2.9% to £12.52, 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 Fashion firmed 3% to 871.2p as a positive trading update triggered earnings upgrades and the company 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 12% to 958.6p, 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 was marked 1.5% lower to 179.6p despite poaching convenience foods producer Greencore's finance head Eoin Tonge as its new chief financial officer.

Greencore shed 0.3% to trade at 238.5p.

Gambling company William Hill rose 4.1% to 185.8p, having forged a deal to become the official sports book and wagering data provider for US broadcaster CBS Sports.

UK meat producer Cranswick fattened up 1.2% to £36.90 after it acquired the Buckle family's pig farming and rearing operations, for an undisclosed sum.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Motor services group AA advanced 3.6% higher to 46.7p as it revealed a turnaround plan remained on track amid a stronger performance from its roadside assistance business.

Struggling recruitment tiddler Nakama plunged 32% to 0.57p, 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 trade at 74p, even as it forecast an expected 2% fall in annual sales.

Serinus Energy was unchanged at 10.25p despite reporting that a new well in Romania flowed natural gas following the completion of testing work.


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