StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 was hanging on above the 5,000 mark by lunchtime, down 4.6% at 5,052.34.

Elsewhere oil prices were at 17-year lows and US futures pointed to further selling on Wall Street, erasing gains chalked up yesterday.

Supermarket giants Tesco and Sainsbury's diverged the former falling 0.7% to 224.3p and the latter rising 10.7% to 212.6p, after welcoming UK government moves to grant retailers a business rate 'holiday' for 12 months to soften the coronavirus blow.

Rival supermarket chain Morrisons jumped 10.8% to 199.75p, as it eked out a 3% rise in underlying annual profit, even as its sales slipped. The company also reported a 5% increase in like-for-like sales for the first six weeks of its current financial year.

Morrisons suspended paying more special dividends while it assessed the full impact of the coronavirus.

Software company Micro Focus International sank 14.9% to 342.75p, on announcing that it was no longer recommending a final dividend for its 2019 financial year as it monitors the cost of the coronavirus outbreak.

Pub owner Marston's reversed earlier losses to trade 35% higher at 30p, having warned on profits and stating that it may not pay an interim dividend.

The gloomy guidance from Marston's came after the UK government urged people to avoid pubs and other hospitality venues to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Marston's also said it was in talks with its lenders about potential covenant waivers.

Rival pub and restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers dropped 0.8% to 140p, claiming it was bracing for a 'significant downturn' in sales.

Iron ore pellet producer Ferrexpo reversed 2.7% to 119.6p, despite reporting a rise in profit, supported by rising sales at higher prices.

Consumer goods group PZ Cussons shed 3.5% to 167p, even as it agreed to sell Nigerian dairy business Nutricima to an affiliate of Holland's Royal FrieslandCampina, for an undisclosed sum.

Auto retailer Pendragon skidded 11.8% lower to 5.3p as it reported a deeper annual loss and scrapped its final dividend, though it said its performance had improved in the second half after it shuttered poorly performing stores.

Pendragon said it was closely monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on the UK economy.

Convenience food producer Greencore gained 4.3% to 104.3p as it said it continued to trade 'broadly in line' with expectations, even as the spread of the Covid-19 virus gathers pace.

Wagamama and Frankie & Benny's owner Restaurant Group fell 4.6% to 24.3p as it warned on profits amid a precipitous drop in sales.

Restaurant Group said it was discussing convenant 'holidays' with its lenders, but still forecast a positive operating earnings results for the full year.

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