StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened lower on Wednesday after the US recorded the largest single-day number of Covid-19 deaths and investors braced for what could be the worst global economic downturn since the Great Depression.

At 0825, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 39.28 points, or 0.7%, at 5.752.03.

Plumbing services provider Ferguson rose 0.4% to £52.10, despite withdrawing its interim dividend to conserve cash.

Ferguson also it would also seek shareholder approval for an additional US listing when markets calmed, rather than a primary listing there.

Insurance company Hastings firmed 2.0% to 186.1p as it maintained plans to pay a heavily reduced dividend, even as it reported a fall in first-quarter revenue.

Packaging company Smurfit Kappa reversed 0.5% to £22.48, having scrapped its final dividend.

Smurfit Kappa grew volumes in Europe and the Americas in the first quarter by 3.0% and 3.5%, respectively, but cited Covid-19 uncertainty for withdrawing the payout.

Communications technology supplier Spirent Communications gained 3.7% to 237p, as it became one of the rare companies to keep its 2019 final dividend payment plans intact, having boosted its revenue in the first quarter.

Fund manager Jupiter sank 7.7% to 199.05p as it reported a fall in assets under management, driven by outflows from its funds and choppy markets.

Online gambling company 888 slipped 6.3% to 133p, having slashed its dividend after its annual profit more than halved.

Fashion retailer Quiz rallied 14% to 6.21p as it reopened its online operations, though with 'standard' delivery services on offer only.

Healthcare services provider UDG Healthcare slumped 4.9% to 595p on warning the Covid-19 crisis would weigh in its second half performance, while suspending its interim dividend.

Hotel and resort owner PPHE Hotel shed 1.0% to £12.282 as its revenue slumped 18% in the first quarter after Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions lowered occupancy levels.

Computing and power component manufacturer Solid State added 2.2% to 460p on guiding for a full-year profit head of market expectations, and a mixed impact from the Covid-19 crisis.

Regenerative medical devices company Tissue Regenix jumped 15% to 0.8p after it had secured a US government backed loan of $629k.

Property portal OnTheMarket dropped 6.2% to 30.5p as it suspended its financial guidance for 2020 while warning of a short-term hit from the Covid-19 crisis.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com