StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks closed sharply higher on Tuesday, buoyed by a surprise 0.5% reduction in US interest rates, although local companies continued to warn about the potential impacts to their businesses from the spreading coronavirus.

At 4:35pm the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 0.95% at 6,718.20 points.

Shares in public relations company Huntsworth shot 43% higher to 110p on announcing an agreed takeover at 108p in cash, a 50% premium to yesterday's closing price.

Shares in marketing company 4imprint rallied 12% to £31.70 after reporting annual profit increased by 20% on increased market share.

Power control solutions developer XP Power sparked 7% higher to £32.35, despite having reported a 36% drop in annual profit owing to a slowdown in the semiconductor market and the US-China trade war.

XP Power said the coronavirus outbreak had added 'caution and uncertainty' to its outlook.

Power generation equipment supplier Aggreko powered ahead by 5% to 721p after it reported a rise in profit as cost cutting supported margins and offset weaker revenues.

Liquid-flow control equipment manufacturer Rotork rose 3.5% to 302p, on posting a 2.7% improvement in its annual profit after cost savings bolstered margins.

Rotork said it was too early to assess fully the potential impacts of the coronavirus on its business.

Bakery chain Greggs rallied 3% to £21.94, after its annual profit rose by nearly a third thanks to the launch of new products including vegan sausage rolls and steak bakes.

The market darling said however it suffered a sharp sales dip in February due to storms in the UK and warned of uncertainty due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Aviation services company Signature Aviation gained 2% to 284p on posting a rise in annual profit owing to a gain on the sale of its Ontic business.

Signature's revenue rose 4.7% to $3.02bn, while underlying pre-tax profit edged up 0.4% to $309.3m.

Quality assurance company Intertek rose 1.6% to £54.54 as it reported rise in profit boosted by acquisitions.

Intertek cautioned its performance would be hit by temporary supply chain disruptions in China for some of its clients, caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Serious disease focused PureTech Health advanced 1.4% to 294p after it dosed the first participant in a clinical study of a treatment for lymphoedema and other fibrotic conditions. Telecom giant Vodafone firmed 0.3% to 134.8p after it and Japan's Rakuten became lead investors in a venture to develop what it claimed would be the first mobile broadband network broadcast from space.

For the 52 weeks ended 28 December 2019, pre-tax profit rose 22% to $54.0m as revenues increased 17% to $860.8m.

Builders' merchant Travis Perkins was a rare loser, dipping 2.2% to £14.82 even as it swung to a full-year profit, bolstered by an improved performance from its soon-to-be-separated Wickes DIY business.

Wickes is on track to be spun off in the second quarter of 2020, Travis Perkins said.

Hungarian budget carrier Wizz Air was another loser, descending 2.5% to £34.04 despite growing passenger volumes 26% in February, having added new routes to Armenia and Poland.

Argentina-focused oil company President Energy fell 2% to 3.38p after it commissioned a new gas pipeline, sharply increasing deliveries to the market.


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