- UK stocks surged back into the black on Friday, paring a portion of recent historic losses, as governments continued to approve large stimulus measures designed to buffer economies from the spreading coronavirus.

At 11.30, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 84.79 points, or 1.65%, at 5,236.4.


Clothing and food retailer Marks & Spencer fell 2% to 113.75p after it scrapped its dividend, warned on profits and foreshadowed a 'severe impact' from Covid-19 on its clothing business.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon jumped 36% to 761p, having posted a 15% rise in first-half profit on the back of 5% growth in like-for-like sales.

The company, however, pulled its interim dividend and warned it expected its full-year profit to fall short of market expectations.

Builders' merchant Travis Perkins added 12.9% to 784.6p, despite announcing that it had suspended its dividend and paused the planned demerger of its Wickes DIY chain until market conditions settled.

Accommodation supplier InterContinental Hotels jumped 12.1% to £26.74, even as it warned its revenue per room could plummet 60% in March.

On a more positive note, the company said demand had started to recover in China, where the spread of the coronavirus has been curtailed.

Infrastructure investor 3i Infrastructure firmed 17.7% to 231p, on announcing that it was on track to meet its dividend target.

Retailer Frasers withdrew formal full year guidance with the Sports Direct-to-House of Fraser owner expecting the coronavirus to cause significant disruption.

However the shares firmed up 4% to 235.2p as investors bet balance sheet strength and a cash generative model should see Frasers through the crisis.


Theatre and film advertising group Reach4entertainment Enterprises was unchanged at 0.225p, even as it said it was reducing employee costs among other mitigating measures to combat a slump in demand caused by Covid-19.

Reach4entertainment said the sudden closure of all live venues on Broadway and in London's West End in the past week meant it expected a material reduction in trading from March onward.

Software provider to the transport sector Tracsis ticked up 1.5% to 475p, despite forecasting a rough road ahead for its events and traffic analytics businesses.

Investors instead focused on the expected resilience of the rail technology and services division, which derives most of its income from highly recurring product sales. Story provided by