StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened higher on Wednesday after Asian exchanged were buoyed by a moderate fall in the rate of new coronavirus cases and hopes of more Chinese stimulus measures.

At 0818, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 53.30 points, or 0.7%, at 7.435.31.

Gold and silver miner Hochschild Mining firmed 6.9% to 171.39p after it reported a sharp uptick in annual profit, driven by better-than-expected production and higher precious metal prices.

Online price comparison group Moneysupermarket shed 1.5% to 312.1p on announcing that chief executive Mark Lewis planned to stand down to 'pursue his career in a new direction'.

No departure date had yet been agreed. Lewis, who took up the reins three years ago, said he wanted to ensure a smooth transition to his successor.

Challenger lender Metro Bank fell 0.9% to 193.3p, even as it appointed Dan Frumkin as its new chief executive.

Frumkin had been serving as the struggling company's CEO in an interim capacity since 1 January, having joined last September from the Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son.

Auto dealer Pendragon reversed 1.1% to 12.34p as it appointed Bill Berman as its chief executive, effective immediately.

Berman had been serving as interim executive chairman since October, when previous CEO Mark Herbert left after just three months at the helm.

Professional services firm RPS tumbled 15% to 146p after it posted a sharp fall in annual profit, citing political uncertainty in the UK, looming regulatory change in the water sector and staff retention challenges in North America.

Cognitive assessment software provider Cambridge Cognition dropped 19% to 24.2p, having warned of lower revenue this year and despite claiming efforts to overcome short-term market factors had recently improved performance.

Supermarket Income REIT gained 0.5% to 107.48p as it acquired a Sainsbury's store in Hessle from Reassure for £34.0m.

Marketing and media consultancy Ebiquity jumped 23% to 32p on announcing that its annual performance met its expectations thanks to tight cost controls and good revenue growth.

Training and security group Pennant International rallied 9.0% to 78p after it received a statement of intent for a potential major new contract worth up to £5m for a suite of generic training aids.

Fertilizer minnow Sunrise Resources sank 17% to 0.17p on booking another full-year loss as it continued to slowly develop its flagship CS pozzolan-perlite project in Nevada while grappling with funding challenges.

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