StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks resumed trading after an extended Easter break with slight losses on Tuesday, largely holding onto gains driven last week by signs Covid-19 infection rates were stabilizing in major disease hotspots.

At 0822, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 5.65 points, or under 0.1%, at 5.837.01.

Pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca rallied 6.7% after it revealed that it was assessing the potential of an existing blood cancer drug to treat Covid-19 patients.

AstraZeneca also reported positive results from a trial of a lung cancer treatment, and, in addition, said a venture with Merck had gained US approval for a treatment for the rare condition neurofibromatosis.

Fashion retailer Next gained 3.2% to £47.72 as it reopened its online businesses 'in a very limited way', having implemented additional Covid-19 safety measures and consulted with staff and the relevant union.

Aerospace and defence contractor Ultra Electronics climbed 3.3% to £20.10, even as it decided to delay the payment of its 2019 final dividend, citing uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Exhibition company Hyve firmed 1.3% to 29.74p despite confirming media speculation that it was planning an equity raising to shore up its balance sheet.

Pub and restaurant owner Mitchells & Butlers lost 2.5% to 217p, having requested a temporary waiver of its debt obligations as it furlouged more than 99% of its staff.

Marketing platform Dotdigital rose 0.5% to 95.45p on confirming that business from it existing customers continued to grow, though it flagged a slowdown in securing new customers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Specialist lender Paragon Banking fell 1.4% to 338p as it decided not to pay an interim dividend.

Paragon Banking said it planned to consider an appropriate dividend for the year as a whole with its full-year results in November.

German business park investor Sirius Real Estate gained 1.2% to 69.8p on reporting that only a small number of tenants experiencing difficulties due to the Covid-19 crisis had requested a deferral of rental and service charge payments.

The collection of rent and service charge income for the month of April had remained 'relatively robust', Sirius said, with over 75% of billing collected by working day seven, representing about 90% of the normal working pattern.

Cocktail bar owner Revolution Bars jumped 37% to 21p after lender NatWest agreed to up the size of a debt facility to help it weather the Covid-19 crisis.

Landscape products group Marshalls shed 1.4% to 641p despite announcing that it was poised to source an additional £90m of debt funding from its banking syndicate.

Recruitment consultancy Nakama was flat at 0.52p, having announced that although its cash position remained 'tight' it was confident it could survive through the Covid-19 storm.

Nakama warned that its performance for the year through March 2020 would be 'marginally below' its previous expectations.

Virtual reality technology company VR Education added 1.9% to 7.9p after it signed a partnership agreement with US-based virtual animal dissections content creator VictoryXR.

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