- UK stocks had a mixed morning on Thursday after hopes increased that the coronavirus outbreak was peaking across Europe.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index initially rallied before falling into the red. But by 1153, the index had recovered to move 0.42%, or 23 points, higher to 5,6420.91.


Budget airline EasyJet jumped 4.1% to 628p after it managed to secure an extra £1.9bn in cash funding to boost its liquidity position.

It also expected to report a narrower first-half headline pre-tax loss this year, amid efforts to cut costs. It also revealed that bookings for winter were 'well ahead' of the equivalent point last year.

Pest control and hygiene firm Rentokil Initial gained 6.2% to 417p having reported that group ongoing revenue rose by 7.2% and ongoing operating profit grew slightly ahead of revenue in the three months to 31 March 2020.

It also confirmed it has drawn down funds under the government's coronavirus funding facility and as a result now has £1.2bn of cash.

Oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell dropped 1.6% to £12.95 after announcing it would 'go further' with its responsible investment ambitions, by aiming to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050.

Housebuilder Barratt Developments soared 8.6% to 461p following news that it is in the process of furloughing around 85% of its employees as part of a series of measures to cut costs.

Home furnishings retailer Dunelm increased 3.9% to 861.50p on the news that it has seen a high level of online demand after resuming its online business.

Investment company Schroders climbed 1.1% to £24.37 after group chief executive Peter Harrison pledged not to furlough any employees or enact any redundancy programmes.

Meanwhile, its total assets under management fell to £470.5bn at the end of the first quarter of 2020, down from £500.2bn at 31 December 2019.

Engineering software group Aveva fell 2.9% to £33.96 as it said it expected revenue to grow 9% but warned that revenue for 2021 would be hurt by expected reductions in capital expenditure in the oil and gas sector.

International events group Informa gained 2% to 425p after it issued new shares worth around 20% of its existing capital and suspended the dividend in efforts to shore-up its finances. The proposed placing will increase total liquidity to £2.3bn.

Digital services company Kainos dipped 0.7% to 666.3p after it said trading continued with positive momentum. Full-year results will be released on 26 May, and are expected to be in-line with current market expectations.

Consumer products firm PZ Cussons fell 4.8% to 171p after it reported a decline in revenue during the third quarter of 2020, albeit at a reduced rate compared to the first half of the year as its key markets were hit by consumer fragility and the coronavirus outbreak.

Specialist emerging markets fund manager Ashmore Group rose 2.2% to 342p despite having reported a first-quarter 22% fall in assets under management to $76.8bn from $98.4bn, reflecting negative investment performance of $18bn and net outflows of 43.6bn.

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