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

While in a statement after returning to work following three weeks off sick, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there will be more information on easing lockdown 'in the coming days', but also warned against lifting restrictions too soon.

At 1215, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 85.81 points, or 1.49%, to 5,838.04.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Hotel group InterContinental Hotels rose 4.4% to £35.11 on announcing 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 6.5% to £19.48, even as it warned on profits for the year through April.

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

Oil major BP rose 0.7% to 310p 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 0.35% to £23.16 after it pulled its special dividend, but stopped short of scrapping its final dividend, while touting 'significant' liquidity.

House builder Redrow advanced 0.5% to 453p as it announced plans to start a phased return to construction at its building sites on 18 May.

Greencoat UK Wind added 1.3% to 140p 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 gained 2.7% to 62p 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.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Storage group Lok'nStore ascended 9.7% to 587p as it declared a higher interim dividend, despite reporting a fall in first-half profit.

Disease testing kit supplier Omega Diagnostics jumped 46% to 55.5p after the company announced its antibody test for coronavirus has achieved a CE-Mark.

Recruitment and training company Staffline jumped 6.75% to 30.7p 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 21.8% to 47.87p having sourced another £60m from its banking lenders and agreed new loan covenants tests.


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