StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks gained on Thursday despite weekly US jobs data showing another 5.2m Americans filed for unemployment.

It takes the total number of jobless claims in the US to over 22m, with researchers from Goldman Sachs estimating there could be some 37m claims by the end of May.

After a volatile trading day with two periods in the red, the UK's benchmark index closed 0.55%, or 30.78 points, higher to 5,628.43.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Budget airline EasyJet fell 2.45% to 588p 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 4.4% to 410p 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 3.33% to £12.72 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 8.8% 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 3.8% to 857p on the news that it has seen a high level of online demand after resuming its online business.

Investment company Schroders climbed 2.8% to £24.77 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 2.5% to £34.10 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 4.9% to 437p 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 dropped 4.2% to 642p 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 2% to 176p 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 2.4% to 343p 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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