- FTSE closed at its highest level since the budget on 11 March as rising optimism flowed due to government plans to re-open economies. Disappointing corporate results from bellwethers BP and HSBC did little to damage the positive mood.

At 16:30, the benchmark FTSE 100 index closed up 1.9% at 5,955.08.

Litigation funder Burford Capital rallied 16.5% to 474.2p, having touted further portfolio gains ahead, as the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis was expected to lead to 'significant demand' for its litigation services.

Miniature war games manufacturer Games Workshop jumped 9% to £58.10 despite warning of a lower annual profit owing to store closures.

The company, however, was still selling games online and re-opening some stores in China, Holland and Scandinavia as lockdowns were lifted.

Builders' merchant Travis Perkins firmed 4.5% to £10.7, despite its sales slipping 4.6% in the first quarter and even more severely in April.

Travis Perkins also said it was re-opening some outlets to service customers that were emerging from construction site lockdowns.

Engineering company Weir rose 4.5% to 907.6p, even as it scrapped its 2019 final dividend and said its orders fell 13% in the 2020 first quarter.

Lower oil prices have hurt Weir's oil and gas division, but it said a resilient performance at its mining division was buffering the blow.

Clothing and food retailer Marks & Spencer rallied 3.3% higher to 97.5p after announcing that it did not expect to pay any dividends for the 2021 financial year as the Covid-19 crisis crunches its sales.

Marks & Spencer said it had also negotiated some covenant waivers and relaxations with is lenders.

BP traded 2.6% higher to 322.1p even as its underlying profit sank by two thirds in the first quarter, indicating the damage that falling oil prices are doing to the world's oil majors.

Online trading house Plus500 added 2% to £12.6 as it continued to enjoy a heightened level of customer trading activity due to market volatility caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

HSBC was 1% higher at 420.6p after the lender warned of a 'material reduction' in profit this year, having reported a 48% plunge in first-quarter earnings.

HSBC pinned the fall on the Covid-19 crisis, a collapsing oil price and higher-than-expected credit provisions.

Disease test kit supplier Omega Diagnostics fell 5.8% to 57p, despite it signing a supply agreement for HIV rapid tests with Clinton Health Access Initiative

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