- FTSE clawed-back earlier losses, which were driven by news over the weekend that governments around the world continued to impose stricter lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19, prompting low-cost carrier EasyJet to ground its entire fleet.

UK prices were lifted in the afternoon by a positive open on Wall Street as investor fears were soothed by the $2.2 trillion stimulus package signed by the president Trump late on Friday.

At 16:30, the benchmark FTSE 100 index closed up 0.9%, at 5,555.66.


Broking house Numis gained 11.4% to 227.5p as it guided for a 10% rise in first-half revenue, after weakness in its investment banking division was more than offset by strength in equities trading amid a recent bout in market volatility.

Chemicals company Synthomer advanced 7% to 245p, having announced that chairman Neil Johnson would stand down by the end of the year, having served in the role since September 2011.

He would be replaced by Caroline Johnstone, who had taken up the position of deputy chairman with immediate effect.

Water utility Pennon climbed 3.7% to £11.1, having guided for a fall in annual revenue, pinned on prolonged wet weather, which was nevertheless in line with its expectations.

Specialty chemicals group Johnson Matthey added 0.8% to £17.7, even as it warned it expected to take a £50m hit to its trading performance due to Covid-19 in its financial year through March 2020.

Scientific instruments supplier Oxford Instruments nudged up 0.2% to £12.1, after announcing the suspension of its interim dividend.

Medical technology firm Smith and Nephew closed unchanged at £14.3 as it forecast an 8% fall in first-quarter revenue and 'substantial' fall in the second quarter, citing the Covid-19 pandemic.


EasyJet dropped 7.7% to 548.8p, having grounded its fleet after completing rescue missions on Sunday.

EasyJet added, however, that it would 'continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested'.

Convenience food manufacturer Greencore dropped 5.3% to 162.0p, despite reporting that it was seeing a mixed effect from the Covid-19 pandemic, with falling demand for 'food-to-go' being partly offset by rising demand for other convenience categories.

Infant merchandise retailer Mothercare dropped 13.3% to 4.2p after it announced it would delay the commencement of a distribution agreement with Boots amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Mothercare also said that it was currently talking to lenders about upping the size of its debt.

Aviation services group Signature Aviation descended 15.3% to 157p, having suspended its 2019 final dividend and withdrawn its financial guidance.

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