StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened substantially higher on Monday as Covid-19 death rates dropped in major hotspots in Europe and the US and some governments outlined plans to gradually lift lockdown measures.

At 0825, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 93.51 points, or 1.6%, at 5.845.74.

Asian markets had also been boosted earlier by new stimulus measures announced by the Bank of Japan.

Accommodation group InterContinental Hotels rose 4.2% to £35.02 on annoucing that it had secured new financing arrangements to strengthen its liquidity position.

InterContinental Hotels also said its performance in China had continued to improve, though ongoing Covid-19 lockdowns were still hurting revenue elsewhere.

Tool and equipment hire company Ashtead firmed 3.5% to 1.894,83, even as it warned on profits for the year through April.

Ashtead also said that although Covid-19 lockdown measures had hurt its trading volumes, the blow was being partially offset by demand related to emergency response efforts.

Oil major BP rose 1.9% to 314.5p on confirming that it was progressing the sale of Alaskan assets for $5.6bn to Hilcorp, as previously planned, despite the oil-price rout.

Insurance company Admiral rose 1.1% to £23.34 after it pulled its special dividend, but stopped short of scrapping its final dividend, while touting 'significant' liquidity.

House builder Redrow advanced 3.8% to 468p as it announced plans to start a phased return to construction at its building sites on 18 May.

Greencoat UK Wind added 0.4% to 138.6p, having agreed to acquire the 240 megawatt South Kyle wind farm in Scotland from Sweden's Vattenfall for £320m.

Real estate investor UK Commercial Property REIT was broadly flat at 60.21p as it reduced its quarterly dividend by half after some if its tenants were unable to pay rent on time due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Storage group Lok'nStore ascended 8.0% to 578p as it declared a higher interim dividend, despite reporting a fall in first-half profit.

Recruitment and training company Staffline jumped 15% to 33.2p on news that it had appointed former Severfield chief executive Ian Lawson as its executive chairman.

Staffline said it was 'cautiously optimistic' about achieving a positive result for the year through December 2020 on an underlying operating earnings basis, despite disruptions caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

Professional services group RPS rallied 8.1% to 42.5p having sourced another £60m from its banking lenders and agreed new loan covenants tests.

Market research agency System1 shed 0.5% to 97p as it warned of a lower annual profit, scrapped its dividend and suspended a share buyback after its sales were hit in the fourth quarter by the Covid-19 crisis.

Disease testing kit supplier Omega Diagnostics jumped 37% to 52p on announcing that it had CE-marked partner Mologic's first generation antibody test for Covid-19.

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