- Global stocks surged on Wednesday as a fall in the rate of new coronavirus cases stoked hopes the worst of the outbreak may be over.

The UK's FTSE 100 gained 35 points, while Wall Street also reacted positively to the news as the Dow Jones hit a record high having climbed over 29,500.

The picture was similar in Europe, with Germany's DAX 30 surging to 13,730 while France's CAC 40 topped 6,100 at one point in the afternoon.

Also helping the FTSE was a bounce in commodities, with strong gains for miners Antofagasta and Anglo American and oil and gas giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

The UK's benchmark index closed 0.47% higher to 7,534.37.


Homewares retailer Dunelm soared 8.74% to £13.06 after it reported a 19% rise in first-half profit and upped its annual guidance, on the back of higher footfall driving increased sales.

Defence contractor Babcock International dropped 3.85% to 535p even as it upwardly tweaked its annual operating profit guidance.

The company, however, also warned of an £85m exceptional charge in its aviation and oil divisions.

Bonding products maker for the industrial and healthcare sectors Scapa sank 30.6% to 189p after it warned its annual profit would fall short of market expectations, citing cost pressures.

Contracts-for-difference trader Plus500 closed effectively flat at 911p, despite having posted a 62% drop in annual profit, blaming calm market conditions.

Plus500 said increased market volatility had driven an improved performance in the second half, with the momentum continuing into the current year.

Supermarket chain Sainsbury's moved 1.83% higher to 206p after announcing that the chairman of its banking unit, Roger Davis, was standing down.

Healthcare facility investor Primary Health Properties gained 0.25% to 162p, as it swung to a full-year loss owing to negative asset revaluations, though its adjusted earnings improved and it lifted its dividend 3.7%.

Polymetal International fell 1.78% to £12.71, despite it announcing a doubling of the ore reserves estimate at its Kutyn gold project in Russia.


Flooring retailer United Carpets plunged 8.57% to 4.8p having warned that its annual profit would miss current market expectations after a hoped-for bounce back after the decisive UK election result failed to materialise.

Language services provider RWS gained 7.08% to 605p on announcing that it was on course to deliver results in line with its expectations, and generate more cash than it had hoped, following several contract wins.

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